Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.
The US is using the conflict in the Middle East as a justification to increase its military presence in the region. Amid the escalations in the Palestine War, Washington is sending more and more weapons to “protect” Israel and “deter” Iran, which creates a wave of serious tension and increases the risk of internationalization of hostilities.
In a statement on October 21, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated that his country is sending additional weapons and troops to several sites in the Middle East due to the crisis in Palestine. Notably, he said he had “activated the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions.” Lloyd also demanded troops who are part of a “prudent contingency planning” to “increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required.”
The range of THAAD systems is around 200km, and they are designed to neutralize various types of missiles. In the same sense, the Patriot system, recently used on the Ukrainian battlefield, has a range of around 160km, being designed to target missiles, drones and military aircraft. It has not been said exactly where the systems will be deployed, but it is known that the objective is to place them in strategic positions that will help protect the territory occupied by Israel against possible air raids by Iran and the Axis of Resistance.
The American secretary justifies his measures with the supposed “escalations by Iran and its proxy forces”, without specifying exactly which moves by Tehran he is referring to. It is well known that Iran has reacted to Israeli actions in Palestine and promised responses if Tel Aviv’s war crimes continue to occur in Gaza, however, so far, no escalatory action has actually been taken by the Persian country. As for Iranian proxies, only Hezbollah is de facto involved in the hostilities, but without troop attrition on the ground so far.
“Following detailed discussions with President Biden on recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region, today I directed a series of additional steps to further strengthen the Department of Defense posture in the region. These steps will bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for U.S. forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel (…) I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary”, Lloyd said.
In fact, regardless of how these new reinforcements help Israel, all American actions seem useless in “deterring” Iran as long as Israel does not change its attitude in Palestine. The crimes of the Zionist State against the Palestinian people increasingly appear to be a red line for almost the entire Islamic world, and it is not possible to guarantee that the mere presence of American weapons and troops in the region will be enough to dissuade Tel Aviv’s rivals from advancing.
This is not the first measure of support for Israel taken by the US. Previously, two aircraft carriers had already been sent to the region. CNN also confirmed that the Pentagon is deploying 2,000 Marines and sailors to Israel to deter Hezbollah. Furthermore, Biden made a statement to the American people calling for support for the approval of new billion-dollar military aid packages for Israel, making it clear that American policy in the conflict will be one of full and unrestricted support for the Zionist regime, regardless of the crimes committed against the Palestinian population.
And, even with so many US’ threats, the stance of Israel’s rivals remains clear. They demand an immediate end to the aggression against Palestine and several armed groups call for direct intervention in the event of a ground invasion in Gaza. In this scenario, the IOF would have great difficulty in maintaining the combat effectively, as they would be forced to fight on multiple fronts – in addition to facing a kind of “Vietnam scenario” in Gaza. Therefore, Tel Aviv continues to try to avoid the invasion, focusing only on bombings that massively kill civilians.
If the Axis of Resistance has not been intimidated so far, it certainly will not be intimidated by the arrival of more American military aid to Israel. Since the Zionist State is a representative of American interests in the Middle East, obviously Iran “and its proxies” are fully aware that any intervention against Israel will face strong American support for the Zionist State. But such is the relevance of Palestine to the Islamic world that despite all the difficulties, they seem really willing to face the risks and engage in prolonged conflicts – which would be disastrous for both Israel and the US.
To truly avoid intervention by the Axis of Resistance and prevent the conflict from becoming a multi-flank war against Israel, the US should convince Tel Aviv to stop attacking Palestine. Sending weapons and troops will only worsen tensions.