US deploys nuclear submarine to West Asia as influence plummets

08 Apr 2023

US deploys nuclear submarine to West Asia as influence plummets

As China and Russia expand their influence in West Asia, and Arab nations move to reconcile with Iran and Syria, Washington has seen its grip on the region weaken significantly

By News Desk; The Cradle

April 8, 2023


The Pentagon announced on 8 April that it deployed the USS Florida — a nuclear-powered, guided-missile submarine — to the Red Sea in support of the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet.

“The USS Florida presents an added measure of flexibility, survivability, readiness, and capability, and we welcome this asset to the CENTCOM region,” said Joe Buccino, a spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM), the Pentagon’s division that oversees West Asia and much of Central Asia.

“It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to US 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” US Commander Timothy Hawkins said in a statement.

In a rare move, the Pentagon released a picture of the Ohio-class submarine as it transited the Suez Canal to the Persian Gulf. Washington usually keeps the locations of its submarines private while they are at sea.

Experts see the public show of force by the Pentagon as an attempt to beef up its forces in the region and deter resistance groups from targeting the US occupation army and its allies.

Last week, the Pentagon said it was preparing to dispatch a squadron of A-10 planes to West Asia in response to a major resistance attack against US occupation bases in Syria’s oil-rich region, which killed one US contractor and severely injured at least a dozen troops.

“We will take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”

Unnamed US officials who spoke with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said the Pentagon had “intelligence that Iran was planning further attacks across the region in the near term.”

The arrival of the USS Florida to West Asia coincided with a historic meeting between the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers in Beijing. The two historic rivals have moved to restore ties in a deal kept secret from Washington.

Saudi Arabia, Washington’s stalwart Arab ally in the region, also plans to restore ties with Syria thanks to Russian support.

On top of all this, the kingdom is also moving forward with plans to end the war in Yemen, as Saudi officials are expected to visit Sanaa next week in yet another landmark development partly attributed to their rapprochement with Iran.