(WSJ) – A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group will arrive in the Middle East within days, U.S. defense officials said, ending the longest period in two decades that such a military presence has been absent from the region. The USS John C. Stennis and accompanying ships will arrive by this week’s end, the first such military presence in the region in eight months, the officials said, to exhibit a show of force against Iran. Tensions between Washington and Tehran are growing over renewed Trump administration sanctions on the

country, Iranian-backed groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen and Iran’s latest ballistic missile tests. The naval deployment also will support the continuing war against remnants of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the U.S. war in Afghanistan, where the U.S. and Afghan militaries have ramped up airstrikes in an effort to press the Taliban into peace talks and rid the country of what they consider irreconcilable fighters, the officials said. The Stennis is scheduled to remain in the region for about two months, the officials said, spending most of that time in the Persian Gulf. READ MORE