American Samizdat

Wednesday, December 20, 2006. *
The United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran that will come as the United Nations continues to debate possible sanctions against the country, Pentagon and military officials said Wednesday.

The officials said that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was expected this week to approve a request by commanders for a second aircraft carrier and its supporting ships to be stationed within quick sailing distance of Iran by early next year.

Senior American officers said the increase in naval power should not be viewed as preparations for any offensive strike against Iran. But they acknowledged that the ability to hit Iran would be increased and that Iranian leaders might well call the growing presence provocative.
Steps are already being taken to increase the number of minesweeping vessels and magnetic “sleds” carried by helicopters to improve the ability to counter Iranian mines that could block oil-shipping lanes, Pentagon and military officials said.

As part of future deployments after the first of the year, the British Navy plans to add two mine-hunting vessels to its ships that already are part of the international coalition patrolling waters in the Persian Gulf.

A Royal Navy news release said the ship movements were aimed at “maintaining familiarity with the challenges of warm water mine-hunting conditions.” But a senior British official said: “We are increasing our presence. That is only prudent.” Military officers said doubling the aircraft carrier presence in the region could be accomplished quickly by a shift in sailing schedules.
at present there are about 45 warships deployed in the Persian Gulf and waters across the region from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, with a third of those supplied by allies, which this month include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Britain.

Tick tock, tick tock...
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:40 PM
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