By David Cloud at SFGate
USS Carl Vinson CVN 70
The Pentagon has quietly shifted combat troops and warships to the Middle East after the top American commander in the region warned that he needed additional forces to deal with Iran and other potential threats, U.S. officials said.
Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, won White House approval for the deployments late last year after talks with the government in Baghdad broke down over keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, but the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear.
Officials said the deployments are not meant to suggest a buildup to war, but rather are intended as a quick-reaction and contingency force in case a military crisis erupts in the standoff with Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon has stationed nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait, adding to a small contingent already there. The new units include two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit – a substantial increase in combat power after nearly a decade in which Kuwait chiefly served as a staging area for supplies and personnel heading to Iraq.
The Pentagon also has decided to keep two aircraft carriers and their strike groups in the region.
USS John C. Stennis CVN 74
Earlier this week, the American carrier Carl Vinson joined the carrier Stennis in the Arabian Sea, giving commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carries out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint in the Persian Gulf, where one-fifth of the world’s oil shipments passes.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG ?
Tensions Between U.S., Israeli, British and Iranian Warships
Source: Washington Blog, Infowars.com
The U.S. and Israel are conducting their largest-ever joint warfare exercises near Iran. And see this.
England is sending its most advanced ship – the HMS Daring – to the region.
Only days after finishing its last wargames in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran has announced another set of wargames in February.
What Could Go Wrong?
Looking behind the headlines:
-The people pushing for war against Iran are the same neocons who pushed for war against Iraq. See this and this.
-China and Russia have warned that attacking Iran could lead to World War III.
-War against Iran was planned at least 20 years ago.
-The U.S. has been claiming for more than 30 years that Iran was on the verge of nuclear capability (and the U.S. apparently helped fund the Iranian nuclear program.)
-The sinking of the USS Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and other justifications for past wars have turned out to be false. Similarly, a number of high-level intelligence officials and politicians have said that the U.S. would fake a provocation and blame it on Iran as a casus belli. For example, Ron Paul haswarned of a “Gulf of Tonkin type incident” in Iran, and Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says many ideas have been proposed for provoking a war, including building boats that look like Iranian boats, and then putting Navy Seals on them to “start a shoot-up”