Intimidating Iran – OpEd

It seems that the United States and Israel are trying to intimidate Iran and want it to make the first move. If they succeed, in intimidating Iran, it would be easier for them to convince the world that Iran was the first to strike and they then have the reasons to attack the country. Both the United States and Israel have repeatedly declared that Iran is a threat to them and for the entire world. Until today Iran has applied restraint, but it is feared that repeated provocations may end Iran’s patience.

One of the moves in the recent past to bully Iran was the deployment of a made in United States F-22s, the most sophisticated stealth jet fighter, at Al Dafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, which is less than 200 miles from Iran’s mainland.

However, the US Air Force adamantly denied the presence of the jet in UAE presence is a threat for any country. Nevertheless, the Al Dafra Air Base is just a short hop over the Persian Gulf from Iran’s southern border.

Reportedly, a spokesperson of US Air Force avoided confirming the exact location of the F-22s, but said they had been deployed to a base in Southwest Asia. He also clarified that the F-22s were simply taking part in a scheduled deployment and were not a threat for Iran. However, he informed that it was a very normal deployment to strengthen military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces.

The spokesman declined to say what the Raptors’ mission was in the region this time around or how many planes had been deployed, citing operational security. However, he said because of the F-22’s next-generation capabilities, any number of planes deployed in the region is a significant move.

The F-22 has been officially combat-operational since December 2005, and have been used in Syria. However, when it comes to dealing with Iran, the US and its allied take extra care to avoid any embarrassment.

Lockheed Martin, in-charge of the F-22 program, said last year that the plane was perfectly suitable for undertaking more sophisticated adversaries and could be used in deep penetration strike missions in well-defended combat zones inside places like North Korea or Iran.

History tells that all the US missions against Iran have faced some kind of adversity and F-22 may not be an exception. The new deployment comes in the midst of the Air Forces’ continuing battle with a rare but sustained oxygen problem plaguing the F-22. Since 2008, nearly two dozen pilots have reported experiencing “hypoxia-like symptoms” in mid-air. The problem got so bad that the Air Force grounded the planes for nearly five months last year in an attempt to fix the problem.

The US Air Force says the F-22 is ready for war, should it be called. It says, “If our nation needs a capability to enter contested air space, to deal with air forces that are trying to deny our forces the ability to maneuver without prejudice on the ground, it will be the F-22 that takes on that mission.”

Often Pakistanis fail to understand why the Middle Eastern countries are extending support to the United States in a bid to make Iran bow down? Is the inherent dislike of Iran so high that they are ready to join any endeavor to wipe out the country that has withstood sanctions over the last 32 years?

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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