For the first time, the United States Air Force deployed F-22 Raptor fighter jets on its base of Al-Udeid, in Qatar.

The F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were deployed “in order to defend American forces and interests”, according to U.S. Central Command. The exact number of aircraft deployed was not specified. Pictures released by the U.S. Air Force show at least five of them.

In the past weeks, the US military increased its presence in the region, following renewed tensions with Iran. It reached a new height when on June 20, 2019, an RQ-4 Global Hawk operated by the U.S. Navy was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian missile. 

Both parties are still disputing the location of the drone at the moment of the incident.

READ MORE:
 
Following the shooting of a U.S. drone by Iran on June 20, 2019, several airlines modified their routes or suspended flights that crossed the airspace above the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
 

A year ago, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program that also involved Germany, China, France, United Kingdom, and Russia. Since then, tensions have escalated between the United States and Iran.

An open conflict could weigh a heavy cost on the global economy. As the United States decided to reestablish economic sanctions on Iran, both Boeing and Airbus had to suspend multi-billion ongoing contracts with several Iranian airlines. Moreover, a fifth of the world's oil passes each day through the Strait of Hormuz, whose safety is now compromised.

READ MORE:
 
As a consequence of the deterioration of relations between the United States and Iran, Washington announced that it would deploy a formation of B-52H bombers in the Middle East.