Friday, January 05, 2007

Large concentration of naval power in the Persian Gulf

For some time now there has been up to four carriers at a time stationed in the Persian Gulf, along with strike forces. The Boxer and Eisenhower, along with missle ships, escorts, subs, etc., are there at present.

US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War?

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, October 24, 2006

There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Two US naval strike groups are deployed: USS Enterprise, and USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. The naval strike groups have been assigned to fighting the "global war on terrorism."

War Games

Concurrent with this concentration of US Naval power, the US is also involved in military exercises in the Persian Gulf, which consists in "interdicting ships in the Gulf carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles"

The exercise is taking place as the United States and other major powers are considering sanctions including possible interdiction of ships on North Korea, following a reported nuclear test, and on Iran, which has defied a U.N. Security Council mandate to stop enriching uranium.

The exercise, set for Oct. 31, is the 25th to be organized under the U.S.-led 66-member Proliferation Security Initiative and the first to be based in the Gulf near Bahrain, across from Iran, the officials said.

Some history of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf

WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf

by Dr. Edward J. Marolda, Senior Historian, Naval Historical Center


Maintaining political stability and the free flow of oil to the global economy have been the overarching objectives of U.S. foreign policy in the Persian Gulf for almost half a century. The U.S. Navy has been one of the primary instruments of that policy, in both peace and war.


Prologue to the War

Between the establishment of the Middle East Force in 1949 and the outbreak of war in 1990, U.S. naval forces protected America's interests in the region and helped develop international support for U.S. foreign policy goals. The continuous, albeit limited, American military presence in the Persian Gulf demonstrated to potential aggressors that in any confrontation they faced the prospect of war with a superpower.

The Navy's extended presence in the region generated political support for the United States among the economically vital but militarily vulnerable states on the Arabian Peninsula. Local leaders recognized the value of having U.S. warships positioned between them and their often-bellicose northern neighbors. They also came to consider naval forces that operated in international waters or required only minimal support facilities ashore as the most appropriate expression of U.S. ties to their countries. Their devout Muslim populations were not likely to accept large, predominantly Christian, and non-Arab air and ground forces operating from inland bases.

The U.S. Navy's performance during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 strengthened these relations. The carrier and battleship task forces that operated in the North Arabian Sea and the cruisers, destroyers, and mine countermeasures ships of Joint Task Force Middle East in the gulf were largely responsible for maintaining the flow of oil from the producing countries of the region. The fleet also prevented Iran's military power from advancing across the gulf. These positive actions helped dissipate the memory of Washington's lack of resolve during the Tehran hostage crisis and the Lebanese civil war in the early 1980s, when significant doubt had developed about American staying power. The local Arab states would not forget this American constancy when Iraq threatened regional stability in 1990.

The Navy's long experience as a military shield in the gulf also fostered closer relations between the United States and its Western allies. Multinational operations during the Tanker War that involved naval units from the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands enhanced a sense of joint responsibility for the protection of international shipping and maintenance of the Persian Gulf oil trade. Hence, America's traditional allies were well disposed to President Bush's August 1990 proposal for international military action against Iraq.

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command unit of the U.S. armed forces, established in 1983 under the operational control of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. It was originally conceived of as the Rapid Deployment Forces.

Its area of jurisdiction is in the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia. CENTCOM has been the main American presence in many military operations, including the Persian Gulf War, the United States war in Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Forces from CENTCOM currently are deployed primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat roles and have bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, Djibouti and central Asia in support roles. CENTCOM forces have also been deployed in Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia in the past, although no substantial forces are based in those countries as of 2005.

Click map to enlarge

CENTCOM's commander is General John Abizaid, who took command on July 7, 2003, replacing General Tommy Franks. His chief of staff is Major General Lloyd J. Austin III. Vice Admiral David C. Nichols is the Deputy Commanding General. Major General Michael Scaparrotti is the director of operations.

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