In a rare show of force, warplanes of the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force carried out a joint sortie over the Persian Gulf on June 16.
“The Mission was conducted as part of a larger effort to continue building military-to-military relationships and interoperability,” the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia said in an official statement.
The ministry also released a video and several photos of the joint sortie showing Saudi and U.S. F-15C warplanes flying in a single formation with aerial tankers from both countries.
This move was likely a message to Iran, which was held responsible for the June 13 attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman by the U.S. President Donald Trump said that the tanker attacks had “Iran written all over it” and dismissed Iran as “a nation of terror.”
Saudi Arabia followed the footsteps of the U.S, as expected. The Kingdom’s Crow Prince, Mohmand Bin Salman Al Saud, accusing Tehran of staging the attack in a recent interview.
“We do not want a war in the region… But we won’t hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital interests,” Bin Salman said in an interview with the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, which was released on June 15.
Last month, Arab gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, accepted a request by the U.S. to redeploy its forces in the Persian Gulf to “counter Iran.”
The joint sortie over the Persian Gulf today shows that the U.S. and its Arab allies are willing to escalate the situation in the region to increase the pressure on Iran.