There Is War in Southwest Asia
Oct. 8, 2023, (EIRNS)—Conditions for a major conflagration in Southwest Asia are building, and must be headed off so that recent dramatic steps towards reconciliation and joint development between the once-hostile nations and peoples can continue.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Sunday afternoon that he has ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group—including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, one guided missile cruiser, and four guided missile destroyers—into the Eastern Mediterranean. U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region have likewise been “augmented,” he reported, adding that, if required, “the U.S. maintains ready forces globally to further reinforce this deterrence posture.” And the first shipments to the Israeli Defense Forces of additional equipment and resources, including munitions but not further specified, will “begin moving today and arriving in the coming days.”
Thirty-six hours after the Hamas assault began, the fighting continues, with hundreds on both sides dead and thousands wounded. The scale of Hamas’ attack is notable. Tony Blinken told ABC News today that about 1,000 Hamas fighters had entered Israel from Gaza. There are reports that the number of rockets fired into Israel reached up to 5,000, overwhelming its “Iron Dome” missile defense system. Israel declared a state of war officially today.
Immediate flashpoints for expansion include an exchange of fire between Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and three Israeli posts, and several attacks on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) checkpoints, from Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank.
Add to that the hostages Hamas has taken into Gaza. How many is not clear; IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus has said only that a “significant number” of Israeli civilians and soldiers are being held hostage, according to the Guardian; Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer spoke of “scores of hostages” on CNN today.
Dermer added that “I can tell you there’s also American hostages as part of that number as well.” In his morning appearances on the talk shows, Blinken said the U.S. is working on verifying that several Americans may be among the dead, and whether there are Americans among the hostages, as has been reported. There are also unconfirmed reports that a British soldier serving in the Israeli military was killed in the action.