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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Two more US aircraft carriers headed for Persian Gulf; nuke sub in the area?

The Kuwait Times reported on Thursday that two more US aircraft carriers are headed for the Persian Gulf. The paper did not say which two carriers they are and the US Navy refused to confirm or deny the report. The two carriers in question are believed to be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan (pictured). Both are currently at sea (see links above). But there's much more to this report.
Meanwhile, the Arabic news agency Moheet reported at the end of July that an unnamed American destroyer, accompanied by two Israeli naval vessels traveled through the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean. A week earlier, a U.S. nuclear submarine accompanied by a destroyer and a supply ship moved into the Mediterranean, according to Moheet. Currently there are two U.S. naval battle groups operating in the Gulf: one is an aircraft carrier group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, which carries some 65 fighter aircraft. The other group is headed by the USS Peleliu which maintains a variety of planes and strike helicopters.

The ship movements coincide with the latest downturn in relations between Washington and Tehran.


Kuwait, like other Arab countries in the Gulf, fears it will be caught in the middle should the U.S. decide to launch an air strike against Iran if negotiations fail. The Kuwaitis are finalizing details of their security, humanitarian and vital services, the newspaper reported.
Hmm. Read the whole thing.

That 'downturn' refers to Wednesday's US call for tougher sanctions and 'punitive' measures against Iran for its failure to respond to the latest package of riches offered by the West. The American call was met by a Russian call for more 'negotiations' instead.
"I think that the allies will have no choice but to take further measures that would be punitive, given that we don't have a decent and responsive statement from the Iranians," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. The response "just doesn't look like it's anything worth writing home about."

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as President George W. Bush flew from South Korea to Thailand as part of an Asian tour, Perino said that "the Iranians have long stalled on responding to the allies."


US State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos, meanwhile, said there was consensus among the six nations that Iran's latest reply to the offer was "very disappointing" and "a stalling tactic" that had left no option other than to seek new sanctions.

"We are very disappointed that Iran has yet again failed to give Javier Solana a clear answer to the... generous incentives package," he told reporters. "We agreed that we have no choice but to pursue further measures against Iran."

Gallegos added that "given the absence of a clear, positive response from Iran, [the six countries] are discussing the next steps in the UN Security Council and beginning to consider the possible outlines of another resolution."

Instead of the unambiguous reply demanded, Teheran on Tuesday asked for clarifications of its own on the offer, a move that Western countries interpreted as playing for time.

"The letter we received yesterday appears to be a stalling tactic," said Gallegos, who added that the Bush administration was "disappointed" by the response.

"We have no choice but to pursue further measures against Iran as part of this strategy," Gallegos said, though he didn't elaborate on the nature of those measures or their time frame.

Israeli sources believe that another Security Council resolution might not come until early next year, and European diplomats have also indicated that they don't expect things to move forward quickly.

"It is not fast-moving," Gallegos acknowledged on Wednesday, "but we believe it can be effective, and therefore we're going to continue proceeding with that process."
I have the impression that Iran may be trying to push the envelope, knowing that the US (and probably Israel) don't want to do anything that could impact the outcome of the US Presidential election. Maybe that's what lies behind this round of non-responses.


At 9:09 PM, Blogger Ayatollah Ghilmeini said...

According to one website, the US currently has plans to surge six carriers in the late summer/September time frame.

It is my belief the plan is to back an ultimatum to Iran and, should it fail, war. Alternatively, Bush has decided that he will let Israel hit the first blow, if Iran does anything the US follows up.

The moment of truth is coming.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Rodney Graves said...

I believe that, given his druthers, President Bush would prefer to defer such an action until after the elections in November.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Zaggs said...

One thing to consider is that the Lincoln is due at Pearl Harbor in October according to the ships homepage. So it hasn't much longer in the area before it leaves. Don't know about the assault carrier but one of the 2 heading to the gulf is probably replacing the Lincoln. nuke subs also usually aid carrier battle groups.

At 3:19 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Nuclear subs, what does that mean?
All U.S. subs are now nuclear. If it is a fast attack sub, that is part of the outer defense ring for that carrier battle group. They can be assigned independent tactical missions. Ballistic missile subs on the other hand, no one knows the operational details about these. When they put to sea, it is alone, and no one sees them till they port again.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger 2 Edge Sword said...

That sends a thrill up my leg. Two kick-ass presidents; Roosevelt and Reagan are on the scene. Didn't they say Lincoln is there, too? OMG!


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