The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay following routine operations. USS West Virginia is the third U.S. Navy ship to be named after the state. (Photo by MC2 Ashley Hedrick)
After millions worldwide protested Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza this weekend, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Baghdad yesterday. In the Iraqi capital, he denounced pro-Iranian militias that have been active in Iraq since Washington illegally invaded the country, toppled its government and occupied it from 2003 to 2011.
Blinken accused these militias of firing on US military bases in Iraq and Syria after the Gaza war began. He said, “(T)o anyone who might seek to take advantage of the conflict in Gaza to threaten our personnel here or anywhere else in the region: Don’t do it. … (T)he threats coming from the militia that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable, and we will take every necessary step to protect our people. We’re not looking for conflict with Iran—we’ve made that very clear—but we’ll do what’s necessary to protect our personnel …”
Blinken’s argument is a political lie: Iran is not looking for war with the United States, but Washington is looking for war with Iran. Blinken is unmistakably threatening Iran or pro-Iranian forces in Iraq, Syria and across the Middle East.
The Palestinian uprising against Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza began a month ago. Since then, over 10,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed. Israel has bombed Gaza’s refugee camps, hospitals and schools; cut off its food, water and electricity; and destroyed half its buildings.
Washington did not try to urge restraint to calm the crisis but inflamed it, setting course for war. While the Iranian regime warned that it might intervene militarily to try to protect the Palestinians from genocide if Israel invaded Gaza, Washington treated global anti-war protests with contempt, embracing Israel’s genocidal policies and claiming Israel has a “right to defend itself.” It also sent to the Middle East two aircraft carrier battle groups and anti-missile batteries, weapons useful only against other major powers like Iran.
US threats to Iran emerged clearly this week, with the unusual public announcement of the sending of a US nuclear missile submarine to the Central Command, which oversees the Middle East. Such a ship can carry either 154 nuclear-tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles or 20 nuclear ballistic missiles. Such a ship has a total destructive power of either 23 or 28 million tons of TNT—about 1,900 or 2,300 times the power of the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.