The US Air Force has sent B-52 bombers to its air base in Qatar. They will be used in Iraq and Syria.
This is the first time that the giant bombers will be used in the Middle East since the 1991 Gulf War.
They were used then to deliver the mass extermination of Iraqi conscript soldiers.
The B-52 has the capacity to carry over 70,000 pounds in bombs, which includes cluster bombs, cruise missiles and other weapons of mass destruction.
It is the standard aircraft for carpet bombing—as used in Vietnam.
This is all a very long way from the claims by Barack Obama and the US military about “smart” or “precision” weaponry that would avoid civilian casualties.
The announcement about the B-52s came as secretary of state John Kerry held meetings in Iraq and Bahrain.
It is widely believed that a major assault will soon be launched on the Isis-held city of Mosul where Iraqi forces suffered a humiliating defeat in 2014.
But the US is concerned that Isis forces may break out of Mosul and head for Baghdad, just six hours south by road. The B-52s could be used for carpet-bombing around Mosul, a city of a million people.
Repeated reports suggest there are already some 5,000 US troops in Iraq—not the 3,800 the US government normally claims.
They are expected to play an important role in the Mosul offensive, opening up the possibility of still deeper US involvement in Iraq.