Posted tagged ‘Trump and US Military’

President Trump Thanksgiving video teleconference with members of the military. Nov 23, 2017 Fl

November 23, 2017

President Trump Thanksgiving video teleconference with members of the military. Nov 23, 2017 Fl, Via YouTube

American Soldiers Died in Niger Because of Obama

October 23, 2017

American Soldiers Died in Niger Because of Obama, Gatestone Institute, Daniel Greenfield, October 23, 2017

Of all the accusations hurled at President Trump, a lack of aggressiveness isn’t one of them. It isn’t his policy to deploy soldiers without a direct combat mission. That’s the opposite of his policy.

But Obama wanted to avoid triggering Islamic terrorists by fighting them too aggressively. And being in a war zone without a combat role provided the anti-war politician with plausible deniability.

American forces in Niger were there providing “advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations”. “Advise and Assist” missions were a staple of Obama era counterterrorism. Embedding American troops within local forces that may be unreliable or compromised carries obvious risks. But the Obama doctrine put public relations ahead of the lives of American soldiers. That doctrine cost countless lives in Afghanistan. And now it may have cost four more American lives in Niger.

If you want to look for the bullet that killed those men, look no further than Obama’s Cairo speech. 

Their deaths should be a reminder that appeasing Islamists always ends in war and death. If the Democrats don’t want war and death, they should end their backing for Islamists and empower our soldiers to defend themselves. 

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Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has come up with a new gimmick for getting invited on CNN. After exploiting the death of one soldier killed in an attack in Niger, she decided that if exploiting one soldier made her famous, exploiting the deaths of all the soldiers would make her even more famous.

Wilson has taken to calling the attack, “Mr. Trump’s Benghazi.” And she’s close. American soldiers died in Niger for the same reasons that Americans died in Benghazi. Both were fallout from the Arab Spring.

It wasn’t President Trump who deployed our soldiers to Niger. That was Obama’s doing. 

Congresswoman Wilson complained that they, “didn’t have appropriate weapons where they were” and that “they had trucks that were not armored trucks.” 

She is welcome to take up those objections with Obama. 

President Trump has been loudly criticized by Democrats for being too aggressive. It wasn’t his policy to have soldiers in Niger without a direct combat role.  It was Obama’s policy to put American soldiers in harm’s way without going on the offensive. And not just in Niger. American soldiers in Iraq and Syria were put in the same strange situation of being deployed in a war zone without a combat mission.

Except to defend themselves.

Or as Obama put it, “The recently deployed forces have deployed with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security.”

They were supposed to be playing defense, not offense.

Of all the accusations hurled at President Trump, a lack of aggressiveness isn’t one of them. It isn’t his policy to deploy soldiers without a direct combat mission. That’s the opposite of his policy.

But Obama wanted to avoid triggering Islamic terrorists by fighting them too aggressively. And being in a war zone without a combat role provided the anti-war politician with plausible deniability.

Obama could take credit for ending all the wars (he officially ended the Iraq War twice even before the rise of ISIS) while still keeping soldiers deployed in war zones. But soldiers in a war zone without an official combat role are far more vulnerable and more likely to be underequipped for a firefight.

American forces in Niger were there providing “advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations”. “Advise and Assist” missions were a staple of Obama era counterterrorism. Embedding American troops within local forces that may be unreliable or compromised carries obvious risks. But the Obama doctrine put public relations ahead of the lives of American soldiers. That doctrine cost countless lives in Afghanistan. And now it may have cost four more American lives in Niger.

The deaths in Niger also had deeper origins in Obama’s pro-Islamist policies and alliances.

Our forces were reportedly targeting the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. ISGS, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, is another Arab Spring baby. Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, its leader, had formerly served as the spokesman for the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) which was a splinter group of Al Qaeda. MUJAO was one of the Jihadist movements empowered by Obama’s illegal invasion of Libya. In the wake of the Libyan disaster, Jihadists seized control of large parts of Mali.

The French took the lead in fighting the Islamist forces. Obama led from behind by deploying American personnel to support the French effort. And that’s still the case. In Niger, we’re there to assist the larger French force. And so when our soldiers came under fire, they had to rely on the French for air support and evacuation. Those are the consequences of Obama ‘leading from behind’.

Our forces were outnumbered. French air support proved unable to offer useful help, but did succeed in evacuating the survivors. And the ambush raises questions about whether ISGS got lucky, or whether it was a setup. The Democrats suddenly seem very eager to find out exactly what happened, but whatever happened was due to policies and programs put into place by their own leader.

Obama’s Arab Spring regime change project and the illegal Libyan regime change operation that followed unleashed regional Islamist aspirations. Mali nearly fell because of Libya. American soldiers in Niger were killed by Islamist terrorists from a group led by the spokesman for that invasion.

But it’s not just about ISGS. One reason we’re in Niger is because we can’t be in Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s Jihadists have killed thousands of Christians in Nigeria. While the genocide continued, Obama officials worked hard to obstruct any effort to name Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization. Only when the mass kidnapping of girls led to the #BringBackOurGirls awareness campaign, did some of the more overt obstructionism by Obama and his political cronies stop. But it certainly didn’t end.

Obama Inc. repeatedly hectored Nigeria for being too tough on Boko Haram. It refused to waive the Leahy amendment which meant that the United States (and even Israel) couldn’t sell weapons to Nigeria and had a great deal of difficulty in training Nigerian forces. While we couldn’t be in Nigeria because its soldiers insisted on killing Boko Haram terrorists instead of locking them up in a Cuban resort and supplying them with all the Harry Potter novels they could want, we could be in Niger.

And so we’re in Niger.

The Nigerien (as opposed to Nigerian) military hadn’t rubbed Obama the wrong way. And so the American presence in Niger grew. We now have some 800 soldiers there and a sizable drone base.

Deploying large numbers of personnel into a terror zone without a plan to take the fight to the enemy is a bad idea. When the Nigerien forces came under attack by as many as fifty fighters with RPGs and heavy machine guns, our soldiers were left exposed, with no one to rely on except the French. They were there officially for training and surveillance, but they were on the front lines instead.

Congresswoman Wilson and other Democrats would like to blame President Trump for the deaths in Niger. But the trouble in Niger has Obama’s fingerprints all over it from the Arab Spring to the “Advice and Assist” missions that aren’t technically combat missions, but often incorporate combat anyway.

The ambiguity was there to cover Obama’s fundament. It’s time to scrap it along with the rest of his policies. The Arab Spring genie may be hard to put back in the box and we need to seriously think about what we’re doing in places like Niger and whether we have a plan to win that isn’t dependent on the locals. Obama didn’t. Instead his counterterrorism policy marked time. From Africa to Afghanistan, it wasn’t about victory, but an inoffensive containment. And that meant not being too aggressive.

If we are going to have forces in Niger or any other war zone, they should have air support and the widest latitude for defending themselves. President Trump’s policies didn’t kill four Americans in Niger. Obama’s appeasement of Islamists and the anti-war left exposed American soldiers to harm.

If you want to look for the bullet that killed those men, look no further than Obama’s Cairo speech.

Their deaths should be a reminder that appeasing Islamists always ends in war and death. If the Democrats don’t want war and death, they should end their backing for Islamists and empower our soldiers to defend themselves.

The Kerfuffle Before the Storm

October 8, 2017

The Kerfuffle Before the Storm, PJ MediaClaudia Rosett, October 7, 2017

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, center, poses for a group photo with Senior Military leaders and spouses in the State Dining Room of the White House on Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The first priority for any president inheriting this virulent global mess should be to try as far as possible to reclaim America’s credibility; to persuade America’s enemies  that the bargain sale on U.S. interests is over, and America will, if necessary, wield its full military might to defend itself, its allies and interests. That is vital to deterrence, which — if genuinely effective — is vastly preferable to war.

The conundrum is how America can regain the credibility needed for deterrence, without having to resort to war in order to prove the point. For instance, unless Kim Jong Un truly believes that the U.S. might actually attack North Korea despite the potential horrific cost, why should he back down? Why should he worry about U.S. warships and submarines in the region? It’s an impressive show of military hardware, but is it a credible threat?

For an American president faced with this problem, one move worth attempting would be to gather America’s top military commanders for a meeting at the White House, followed by a dinner with their spouses, and invite the press to come witness and report on this conclave. If, in the midst of this genial scene, the president mentions that this is the calm before the storm, it may be baffling and frustrating to reporters — whose job includes nailing down details. But in capitals such as Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang, it might just help prompt a rethink about the assumption — gleaned from their success in rogue ventures during the tenure of Obama — that America is a hamstrung giant.

There’s always the possibility that it was more than a broad warning — that perhaps Trump is indeed about to launch a specific military action. But to whatever extent this cliffhanger helps concentrate minds in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang on just how unpleasant it could be to provoke an American storm,  it was an important message. Quite possibly a bid to avert a war, rather than start one. Worth the kerfuffle in the press.

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With the phrase “the calm before the storm,” President Trump on Thursday evening kicked off one of the biggest media kerfuffles since his late-night tweet in May about “the constant negative press covfefe.” That mysterious locution produced a spate of stories speculating sardonically on what the president meant. We’re now hearing a similar round of mockery. But this was no late-night typo in a tweet, and while offended members of the media default to derision, it’s worth considering that the president quite likely sent a useful message to an audience that extends way beyond the White House press corps.

The setting was a dinner for top U.S. military commanders and their spouses, hosted by Trump in the White House State Dining Room. Trump invited reporters in for a brief photo-op. Flanked by military officials who have dedicated themselves to defending America and winning its wars, all gathered with their spouses under a big portrait of President Lincoln. Trump asked the reporters, “You guys know what this represents?”

“Tell us, sir,” said one of the reporters.

“Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” said Trump. A reporter asked, “What storm?” Trump gave the oblique reply, “We have the world’s greatest military people in this room, I will tell you that.” A reporter asked, again, “What storm?” Trump said, “You’ll find out.”

The entire exchange lasted about 30 seconds. The reporters were thanked and dismissed. The media were left to speculate on whether the “storm” referred to impending military action again North Korea, or maybe plans to back away from President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, or something else, or nothing at all. Asked again by reporters on Friday what he meant by “the calm before the storm,” Trump again declined to clarify, saying again, “You’ll find out.”

This has been playing as a crazy-Trump story. CNN came out with the headline: “Trump is treating a potential war like a reality show cliffhanger,” and warned, “This is no reality show… His words — whether he means them as a tease, a threat or something in between — can have very real consequences.” Esquire called Trump “Our Reality TV President” and asked, “Will the season finale involve nuclear war with North Korea?” The New York Times called Trump’s comment “ominous.” NBC called it “provocative.” Politico called it “unprompted.” The Huffington Post, in a headline, called it “Bizarre.”

I’d call it smart. We don’t know precisely what the president had in mind. But we do know — or we ought to know — this: In world politics, there is a gathering storm that threatens America and our allies. There is a rising network of tyrannies hostile to American interests and values, including most prominently Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The U.S. superpower can face down any one of these actors if it must, but the disturbing trajectory is that for years now — whatever their differences — they have effectively been making common cause against America and the requirements of a free and peaceful world order. They do illicit business together; they often back each other diplomatically, and they learn from each other just how much it is possible to get away with. Russia and China have been carrying out joint military maneuvers. North Korea, longtime weapons dealer to Iran, is cultivating an arsenal of nuclear missiles. The threats compound.

This trend accelerated dramatically during the years of America’s policies of retreat, appeasement, and surrender under President Obama. China, as part of its military buildup, sped up its construction of artificial islands topped with military bases clearly designed to threaten freedom of navigation along vital shipping routes in Southeast Asia. Russia snatched Crimea from Ukraine, and got away with it. Terrorist-sponsoring Iran extended its reach in the Middle East, and is currently benefitting from a rotten nuclear deal that paves its way to the bomb, accessorized with ballistic missiles. Syria disintegrated into war, which opened the way for both the rise of ISIS and military inroads by Vladimir Putin’s Russia into the Middle East. Libya, with America leading-from-behind, disintegrated into terrorist-infested chaos.

And North Korea, which had carried out one nuclear test in 2006 on the watch of President Bush, conducted four more tests during the tenure of Obama, along with scores of ballistic missile tests, while Kim Jong Un consolidated his hold on the totalitarian throne inherited in 2011 from his father. Taking advantage of Obama’s “strategic patience” to ramp up a rogue nuclear program, Kim Jong Un’s regime was ready to greet the Trump administration with an arsenal that by now appears quite convincingly to include long-range missiles, miniaturized warheads and the hydrogen bomb.

None of this is a figment of Trump’s imagination. Neither is it a prop on some reality TV show. It is real.

This is not of Trump’s making. But given the rate at which the threats and crises have been compounding, it falls to him to cope with a greatly emboldened group of increasingly well armed and predatory powers. This has been made all the more difficult by the enormous amount of U.S. credibility that was squandered by Obama — who gutted the U.S. military, bore passive “witness” to upheaval in Iran, erased his own red line over chemical weapons in Syria, threw away the hard-won progress in Iraq, bungled Afghanistan and Libya, promised (and delivered) flexibility to Putin, deferred to China, embraced Cuba, shrugged off the rising nuclear threat of North Korea, and assured the American public that the tide of war was receding.

The first priority for any president inheriting this virulent global mess should be to try as far as possible to reclaim America’s credibility; to persuade America’s enemies  that the bargain sale on U.S. interests is over, and America will, if necessary, wield its full military might to defend itself, its allies and interests. That is vital to deterrence, which — if genuinely effective — is vastly preferable to war.

The conundrum is how America can regain the credibility needed for deterrence, without having to resort to war in order to prove the point. For instance, unless Kim Jong Un truly believes that the U.S. might actually attack North Korea despite the potential horrific cost, why should he back down? Why should he worry about U.S. warships and submarines in the region? It’s an impressive show of military hardware, but is it a credible threat?

For an American president faced with this problem, one move worth attempting would be to gather America’s top military commanders for a meeting at the White House, followed by a dinner with their spouses, and invite the press to come witness and report on this conclave. If, in the midst of this genial scene, the president mentions that this is the calm before the storm, it may be baffling and frustrating to reporters — whose job includes nailing down details. But in capitals such as Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang, it might just help prompt a rethink about the assumption — gleaned from their success in rogue ventures during the tenure of Obama — that America is a hamstrung giant.

Whether that was Trump’s intention, I don’t know. It sure looked that way. In the phrase that so alarmed CNN and Esquire, there was a useful ambiguity. Trump didn’t guarantee a storm; he merely suggested it could happen. Surrounded by his top military commanders, in the seat of American power that is the White House, the commander-in-chief prefaced his statement about “the calm before the storm” with “maybe.” It was, in a genteel and peaceful setting, a warning not to mess with America.

There’s always the possibility that it was more than a broad warning — that perhaps Trump is indeed about to launch a specific military action. But to whatever extent this cliffhanger helps concentrate minds in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang on just how unpleasant it could be to provoke an American storm,  it was an important message. Quite possibly a bid to avert a war, rather than start one. Worth the kerfuffle in the press.

Ignatius: Fighters in Syria Cheer Mention of Trump’s Name

July 3, 2017

Ignatius: Fighters in Syria Cheer Mention of Trump’s Name, Washington Free Beacon, July 3, 2017

 

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said Monday that during his travels in Syria, rebel fighters there cheered any mention of President Donald Trump’s name.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Ignatius prefaced his comments by warning that he would say something “sympathetic to Trump.” It was only the second airing of the show since Trump touched off a firestorm with his tweets mocking Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

“As I traveled across Syria meeting with Syrian fighters who were trying to take down the regime of Bashar al-Assad, every time the name President Trump was mentioned, there were cheers from the audience,” he said in a clip flagged by Legal Insurrection.

One Syrian Kurdish commander, Ignatius said, colorfully remarked Trump had the equivalent of what would be called “cajones” in Spanish. Ignatius said Trump’s looser approach allowed commanders on the ground to more expeditiously carry out operations.

“More seriously, the big attacks that have taken place around Raqqa, one in particular, a surprise landing by helicopter, I was told, by the top U.S. commanders, would not have taken place if it hadn’t been for President Trump’s decision to delegate military authorities down to the level of command,” Ignatius said. “Under Obama, that would have taken a couple weeks of White House meetings, and they still wouldn’t have made up their mind.”

In March, the U.S. airlifted hundreds of fighters in an attack to help cut off Raqqa, the Islamic State’s proclaimed capital. The New York Times reported this was a result of Trump’s delegating approach.

Trump ordered a retaliatory strike against Syria in April after Assad’s regime killed more than 80 people in a chemical attack. Last week, the White House publicly threatened him with a “heavy price” if he carried out another attack.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Trump’s warning to the Syrian regime to not deploy a chemical weapons attack saved “many innocent men, women and children.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Trump Is Not An Interventionist Commander In Chief

April 16, 2017

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Trump Is Not An Interventionist Commander In Chief, Fox News via YouTube, April 16, 2017

 

Former Ambassador John Bolton: Trump Needs to Renegotiate ‘One China’ Policy

February 27, 2017

Former Ambassador John Bolton: Trump Needs to Renegotiate ‘One China’ Policy, Washington Free Beacon, February 27, 2017

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton on Friday urged President Donald Trump to upend  four decades of precedent by renegotiating the “One China” policy that denies Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Bolton told the Washington Free Beacon in an exclusive interview that the One China policy, which was established during President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, is “ahistorical” and fails to reflect the current reality in East Asia, where natives of Taiwan overwhelmingly identify as “Taiwanese” rather than “Chinese.”

“The One China policy is inherently ambiguous,” Bolton said. “China thinks it means one thing, we think it means another.”

Beijing maintains that One China means the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate China, encompassing Taiwan.

But the Shanghai Communiqué agreed to by the United States and China explicitly says the United States “acknowledged” that “all Chinese” on either side of the Taiwan Straight believe “there is but one China.” The pact does not deny Taiwan’s sovereignty on its face.

“A clear relationship with both Beijing and Taipei on this would help all concern rather than [having] this phrase which means anything and nothing,” Bolton said.

Earlier in the day, Bolton told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, D.C., that the Trump administration needs to “make clear” there will never be reunification between China and Taiwan without the “express, overwhelming consent” of those living in Taiwan.

“It’s time for constructive clarity,” Bolton said. “We support the people of Taiwan. We support their continued self-government, independent of China.”

Bolton predicted that China will be the top strategic issue facing the United States in the 21st century. He said the president needs to immediately demand that China back down in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Bolton also suggested the Trump administration pressure China to pursue Korean reunification to “eliminate” the North Korean regime. He urged the president to end the Iran nuclear deal “as soon as possible” and said the United States needs to renegotiate the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia so that the United States can rebuild its nuclear deterrent in the face of Moscow’s ongoing treaty violations.

“There’s only one country in the world that’s bound by this treaty—China’s not bound by it, North Korea and Iran aren’t bound by it, theoretically Russia is, but they don’t pay any attention to it,” Bolton said. “There’s only one country that can’t build intermediate-range nuclear forces and that’s us.”

Bolton is a vocal advocate of an expansive U.S. foreign policy that promotes American values abroad. He says the greatest threat to the nation is “self-induced weakness” that was characteristic during the Obama years.

The former ambassador told the Free Beacon he believes Trump would be successful in reversing many of former President Obama’s foreign policy initiatives within his first term, especially if he models his actions after the Reagan administration.

“It took Reagan a substantial amount of time to create a defense expenditure buildup to give us the kinds of military force that we needed to speak from a position of true strength, and I think Trump is going to have to go through the same process with correcting the mistakes of the eight Obama budgets,” Bolton said.

“At the same time, Reagan said right from the beginning that he was going to pursue a very different foreign policy and the political strength of his determination to do that gave us cover while we rebuilt the military and I think Trump should follow that approach too … It would’ve been a lot different if we had a Clinton administration and had not just an eight-year hole to climb out of but a 12-year hole,” he added.

Bolton was a finalist to fill the national security adviser position left open by the resignation of retired Gen. Mike Flynn.

Trump said the administration would ask Bolton to serve in a “somewhat different capacity” after it announced the selection of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for national security adviser on Monday.

“John is a terrific guy. We had some really good meetings with him. Knows a lot,” Trump said from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “He had a good number of ideas that I must tell you I agree very much with. So we’ll be talking with John Bolton in a different capacity.”

Bolton did not comment on those talks.

US twin sea buildup against China, NKorea, Iran

February 19, 2017

US twin sea buildup against China, NKorea, Iran, DEBKAfile, February 19, 2017

The conventional thinking until now was that, in the event of an Iranian clash with the US or Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Tehran would push back by blocking the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Today, American forces have been placed in position to prevent Iran from blocking the Strait of Mandeb, and so choking the main sea route used by oil and merchant shipping sailing to and from the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, by posting missile bases on Yemen’s western Red Sea coast.

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Donald Trump marked his first month as US President with two major military gambits in the Middle East, Asia and the South China Sea. Early Sunday, Feb. 19, the US Navy said that the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and strike group had begun patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. With them are three air squadrons coming from their Naval Air Station Lemoore: the USS Lake Champlain guided missile cruiser and two guided missile destroyers, the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Wayne E. Meyer.

The deployment comes after Beijing’s warning that a US naval unit sailing near the disputed Spralys, where China has built islands and a military presence, would be seen as a violation of sovereignty, which the US and Japan refuse to recognize.

The Trump administration’s move therefore opens up a potential arena of confrontation between the US and China.  It also caries a message for North Korea, which Trump has called “a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly.”

A week ago, on Feb. 12, North Korea launched a missile, using new “cold eject” technology which makes it possible to fire a missile from a submarine. Military experts in Washington and Jerusalem estimate that once Pyongyang has perfected the system, it will be passed to Tehran, an eventuality covered in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s White House talks with President Trump last week, our sources reveal.

Our military sources add that while Washington has publicly announced the transfer of a naval-air force to the South China Sea, the deployment of the large 11th Marine Expeditionary Combat Unit to the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea is being kept low key.

The conventional thinking until now was that, in the event of an Iranian clash with the US or Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Tehran would push back by blocking the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Today, American forces have been placed in position to prevent Iran from blocking the Strait of Mandeb, and so choking the main sea route used by oil and merchant shipping sailing to and from the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, by posting missile bases on Yemen’s western Red Sea coast.

The 4,500-strong contingent of MEC marines and sailors is supported by the fighters and attack helicopters on board the USS Makin Island amphibious assault ship, the USS Somerset amphibious transport and the USS Comstock dock landing ship. Their task is to keep the strategic waterway open and safe.

The deployment of the USS Cole destroyer around the strait was announced on Feb. 3, days after a suicide boat attack by Yemeni Houthi rebels on the Saudi frigate Al Madinah off the Yemeni port of Al Hudaydah.

DEBKAfile’s military analysts note that the deployment of these naval and air forces in two international maritime arenas offers President Trump a flexible operational scenario. He can order one of those forces to go on the offensive as a warning to hostile elements in the other one – or go into action in both simultaneously – for example the US could strike North Korean and Iranian targets synchronously.

In line with these moves, a US flotilla departed its Arabian Sea base at Duqm in Oman on Feb. 12 and is sailing towards Bab Al Mandeb.

Tehran reacted Monday, Feb. 20, by embarking on a large-scale three-day military exercise titled Grand Prophet 11. Gen. Mohammed Pakpour, commander of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces, announced that the drill would include missile launches, without specifying their types or ranges.

Iranian leaders have repeatedly stated that they would not allow American warnings to deter them from their missile program, any more than Pyongyang hesitated to fly in the face of those warnings. Those warnings are now backed up by America’s sea and air might in combat positions.