USS Eisenhower headed to the Middle East to contain Israel-Hamas conflagration
By sending a second nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the Middle East, the US has sent a strong message of brute deterrence to supporters of the Hamas terrorist group and ensured that the conflict does not spill over from Gaza to other parts of West Asia.
The Carrier Strike Force 2 headed by USS Eisenhower is headed for Middle-East and will most likely be deployed in the Red Sea as Carrier Strike Force 12 under USS Gerald Ford is monitoring the East Mediterranean. Both the nuclear-powered mega carriers are accompanied by their full complement of destroyers and submarines and have the military might in land attack missiles and F-18 fighters to take on any major power in the region.
The decision to send the second aircraft carrier group to the Middle East is to deter Iran and other Hamas allies not to interfere in the Israeli land offensive against Tehran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah in Gaza and Lebanon respectively after the pogrom by the Sunni jihadists in South Israel on October 7.
With President Joe Biden making it clear that US had the back of Israel after the reprehensible massacre by Hamas Islamists of Jews and other non-Muslims in South Israel, Tel Aviv can now focus its forces on the imminent land offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and deter Shia Hezbollah to back off from the northern borders of Israel. Even though Iran in its real ambition to become the leader of the Islamic world is making threatening noises after meeting Hamas leadership in Lebanon and Qatar, Tehran cannot afford a horizontal conflagration as the mood on Israeli street is angry and focused on avenging the murder, rape and abduction of non-combatants at the hands of Hamas terrorists a week ago. Any military move from Tehran will be met with retaliation from Israel.
Even though the Israeli defence force is threatening a land offensive on north Gaza, the mission is fraught with risks and innocent collateral damage in Gaza Strip. The first big hurdle is that Hamas has over 120 hostages including infants and toddlers to deter a land offensive as the Islamic jihadists have threatened to kill the hostages in the event of a land attack. Given the penchant of Hamas to display its medieval brutality on TV and social media like the Islamic State and pan-Islamic terrorist groups in Af-Pak region, any hostage killing will lower the morale of the IDF and the public at large. Second hurdle is that the IDF will have to create alternative routes as Hamas must have mined the normal roads with IEDs and anti-tank mines and the Israeli armour may come under guided missile attack. Third hurdle is that if the IDF goes into house-to-house search in north Gaza, there is a strong possibility of more casualties on the Israeli side as urban guerilla warfare is loaded in favour of the holed-up asymmetric warrior. With as many as 1300 persons killed and many thousands injured, the IDF will try its best to avoid casualties with Hamas suicide attackers and bombers lurking around the corner. Fourth hurdle is that if the IDF goes for a massive aerial attack using air-to-ground missiles, there is a 100 per cent possibility of collateral damage with Hamas not averse to using their own women and children as pawns in jihad against the Zionists. Fifth hurdle is that the Gazans have nowhere to go as Egypt has sealed the Rafah crossing in south Gaza as Cairo has no intentions of entertaining Muslim Brotherhood proxies and neither is any other Muslim nation including Turkey, Iran or Qatar willing to house the displaced Gazans.
Given the above facts, the Israeli land offensive will be deliberate and planned with full spectrum intelligence with an immediate focus on exterminating the Hamas command and control network in Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu will not go into a land offensive till his victory is ensured by wiping out Hamas leadership. No early end to war is in sight.