Mahdi Darius NazemroayaThe March to War: Naval build-up in the Persian Gulf and theThu Oct 5, 2006 14:43
The March to War: Naval build-up in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
October 1, 2006
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We bring to the attention of our readers, this carefully documented review of the ongoing naval build-up and deployment of coalition forces in the Middle East.
The article examines the geopolitics behind this military deployment and its relationship to "the Battle for Oil".
The structure of military alliances is crucial to an understanding of these war preparations.
The naval deployment is taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Both Israel and NATO are slated to play a major role in the US-led war.
The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean is broadly under the jurisdiction of NATO in liaison with Israel. Directed against Syria, it is conducted under the fašade of a UN peace-keeping mission pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In this context, the war on Lebanon must be viewed as a stage of a the broader US sponsored military road-map.
The naval armada in the Persian Gulf is largely under US command, with the participation of Canada.
The naval buildup is coordinated with the planned air attacks. The planning of the aerial bombings of Iran started in mid-2004, pursuant to the formulation of CONPLAN 8022 in early 2004. In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.
These war plans must be taken very seriously.
The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity.
In the weeks ahead, it is essential that citizens' movements around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda.
What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and distortions, confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it, its war agenda as well as its so-called "Homeland Security agenda" which has already defined the contours of a police State.
It is essential to bring the US war project to the forefront of political debate, particularly in North America and Western Europe. Political and military leaders who are opposed to the war must take a firm stance, from within their respective institutions. Citizens must take a stance individually and collectively against war.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 1 October 2006
The probability of another war in the Middle East is high. Only time will tell if the horrors of further warfare is to fully materialize. Even then, the shape of a war is still undecided in terms of its outcome.
If war is to be waged or not against Iran and Syria, there is still the undeniable build-up and development of measures that confirm a process of military deployment and preparation for war.
The diplomatic forum also seems to be pointing to the possibility of war. The decisions being made, the preparations being taken, and the military maneuvers that are unfolding on the geo-strategic chessboard are projecting a prognosis and forecast towards the direction of mobilization for some form of conflict in the Middle East.
In this context, people do not always realize that a war is never planned, executed or even anticipated in a matter of weeks. Military operations take months and even years to prepare. A classical example is Operation Overlord (popularly identified as “D-Day”), which resulted in the Battle of Normandy and the invasion of France. Operation Overlord took place on June 6, 1944, but the preparations for the military operation took eighteen months, “officially,” to set the stage for the invasion of the French coast. It was during a meeting in Casablanca, Morocco in January, 1943 that the U.S. President, F.D. Roosevelt, and the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, outlined a strategy to invade Normandy.1
With regard to Iraq, the “Downing Street memo2” confirms that the decision to go to war in 2003 was decided in 2002 by the United States and Britain, and thus the preparations for war with Iraq were in reality started in 2002, a year before the invasion. The preparations for the invasion of Iraq took place at least a entire year to arrange.
The period from 1991 to 2003 has seen continuous military operations against Iraq by the Anglo-American alliance. This period that has lasted for over a decade saw stages of heavy bombardment and major air strikes on a crippled Iraqi republic and its citizens. In reality the conditions for the groundwork and preparations of the invasion and eventual occupation of Iraq took over ten years to materialize. Iraq was weakened and its strength diluted within these ten years.
Even prior to this decade of Anglo-American bombardment and U.N. sanctions, Iraq was caught in an eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s. The war between Iran and Iraq was also fuelled and organized by the United States to weaken both. In retrospect the manipulation of a war between Iran and Iraq to weaken both states seems to be strategic planning in preparation for future military operations against them. In this time preparations were also being made by securing the Balkans for future Anglo-American operations. The Balkans is adjacent to the Middle East and is also a geographic extension of the region. Preparations were made by expanding NATO, shifting military bases eastward, and securing energy routes. Dismantling the state of Yugoslavia was also a part of this objective. Yugoslavia was the regional power of the Balkans and Southeast Europe. This was done through close coordination between the Anglo-American alliance and NATO. Now all eyes are on Iran and Syria. Will there be another Anglo-American initiated war in the Middle East?
Overview of Naval Confrontation against Iran
The Pentagon has already drawn up plans for U.S. sponsored attacks on Iran and Syria.3 Despite the public posturing of diplomacy by the United States and Britain, just like the Iraq Invasion, Iran and Syria sense another Anglo-American war in the horizon. Both countries have been strengthening their defenses for the eventuality of war with the Anglo-American alliance.
A conflict against Iran and Syria, if it were to materialize, would be unlike previous Anglo-American sponsored conflicts. It would be wider in scope, deadlier, and have active aerial and water (naval) fronts.
Sea power would be of greater significance than in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. The United States would covet a quick victory. The chances of this happening are unknown. If there were to be a conflict with Iran, the United States and it partners would want to keep the Straits of Hormuz open for the flow of international oil. The Straits of Hormuz are the “energy lifeline of the world.”
The United States would without doubt quickly aim for the collapse of the Iranian and Syrian commands and military structures.
It must be noted that the Iranian Armed Forces are characterized by well structured military organization, with advanced military capabilities, when compared to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has been preparing for a scenario of war with the Anglo-American alliance for almost a decade. These preparations were stepped up following the NATO-U.S. led attack on Yugoslavia (1999).
The types of military units and weapons systems being deployed in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea by the United States are considered to be best suited for combat against Iran, also with a view to keeping the Straits of Hormuz open for oil tankers. This also includes forces that would be able to secure bridgeheads on the Iranian coastline. These U.S. forces consist of early warning units, recognizance, amphibious elements, maritime search and rescue units, minesweepers, and rapid deployment units.
U.S. Strike Groups: Cargo intended for War?
The U.S.S. Enterprise a U.S. Navy flagship is under deployment to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. This includes all the warships and vessels that compose Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) Destroyer Squadron 2 (DESRON 2), and Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW 1). The stated objective for the deployment of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, and other U.S. Navy vessels is to conduct naval security operations and aerial missions in the region. The deployment does not mention Iran, it is said to be part of the U.S.-led “War on Terror” under “Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Originally the name for Operation Enduring Freedom was “Operation Infinite Justice,” which highlights the unlimited scope and intentions of the War on Terror. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” which envelops the Anglo-American invasion and the continued occupation of Iraq is also a component of these operations. A large number of U.S. warships are deployed in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Arabian Sea.
While this deployment is said to be related to ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the warships are carrying with them equipment which is not intended for these two war theaters. Minesweepers and mine-hunters have absolutely no use in landlocked Afghanistan and are not needed in Iraq which has a maritime corridor and ports totally controlled by the Anglo-American alliance.
Other warships in the Enterprise Strike Group include the destroyer U.S.S. McFaul, the war frigate U.S.S. Nicholas, the battle cruiser U.S.S. Leyte Gulf, the attack submarine U.S.S. Alexandria, and the “fast combat support ship” U.S.N.S. Supply. The U.S.N.S. Supply will be a useful vessel in confronting the Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf in close-quarter combat. Speed will be an important factor in responding to potentially lethal Iranian missile and anti-ship missile attacks.
The U.S.S. Enterprise carries with it a host of infiltration, aerial attack, and rapid deployment units. This includes Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 251, Electronic Attack Squadron 137, and Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123. Squadron 123 will be vital in the event of a war with Iran in detecting Iranian missiles and sending warnings of danger to the U.S. fleet. Special mention should be made of the helicopter squadron specialized for combating submarines traveling with the strike group. “Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11” will be on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Persian Gulf is known to be the home of the Iranian submarine fleet, the only indigenous submarine fleet in the region.
The Eisenhower Strike Group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, has also received orders to deploy to the Middle East. The strike group is led by the U.S.S. Eisenhower, another nuclear battleship. It includes a cruiser, a destroyer, a war frigate, a submarine escort, and U.S. Navy supply ships. One of these two naval strike groups will position itself in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea while the other naval strike group will position itself in the Persian Gulf, both off the Iranian coast.
Another Strike Group Performs Anti-submarine Drills and sets sail for the Persian Gulf
Another assault or strike group of U.S. warships, “Expeditionary Strike Group 5,” are setting off to sea too. This strike group is setting sail from Naval Station San Diego with the Persian Gulf in the Middle East as their final destination. Over 6,000 U.S. Marines and Navy personnel will be deployed to the Persian Gulf and Anglo-American occupied Iraq from San Diego.4 Approximately 4,000 U.S. sailors and 2,200 U.S. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Pendleton will make the bulk of the force. The warships and the servicemen they carry will reportedly have a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf and “possibly” Anglo-American occupied Iraq for half a year. They will also be joined by other ships including a Coast Guard vessel. A Marine air wing of 38 helicopters also is on board and travelling to the Persian Gulf.
The Marine contingent of the force is not destined for deployment in Iraq. It must be noted that the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is, however, able to “rapidly deploy” on “order” using large landing craft stowed aboard the strike group’s warships. If ordered this rapid deployment unit has the strong potential of being used as part of an invasion force against Iran from the Persian Gulf. The Marine unit would be ideal in being part of an operation with the objective(s) of securing Iranian ports to create beachheads for an invasion.
Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5) is being led by the assault ship the U.S.S. Boxer as the flagship. Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5) will also consist of the U.S.S. Dubuque, a “dock landing vessel,” the naval transport ship the U.S.S. Comstock, the battle cruiser the U.S.S. Bunker Hill, the guided-missile hauling destroyer the U.S.S. Benfold, and the guided-missile hauling destroyer the U.S.S. Howard. Once again, these vessels will all be deployed in the Persian Gulf, in nearby proximity to the Iranian coast.
It is noteworthy to mention that the command and control structure of the group will be separated from the vessels for maximum flexibility. Also before the U.S. Naval strike group reaches the Persian Gulf it will be performing “anti-submarine drills and operations.” The anti-submarine exercises will take place off the coast of Hawaii, in the Pacific Ocean. This can be training and preparation intended for combating the Iranian submarine fleet in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. The warships will also be joined in Hawaii by Seattle-based U.S. Coast Guard and by a Canadian navy frigate, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa.
Canada contributes to the American-led naval build-up in the Persian Gulf
The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is actively collaborating in this military endeavor.
Canadian foreign policy has been steadily and successively militarized by two successive governments.
The government of Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal) implemented the “three-dimensional policy” of the “3-Ds” (“Diplomacy”, “Development,” and “Defense"), adding a military component to Canadian foreign aid and development assistance.
The 3-Ds brought Canada into performing as more active role in U.S.-led operations in NATO garrisoned Afghanistan. Despite the public protest, Canada has become an integral member of the Anglo-American military alliance.
Canada's involvement is not limited to Afghanistan as suggested by the press reports and official statements.
The H.M.C.S. Ottawa has been dispatched to the Persian Gulf, leaving in September, from British Columbia. Officially the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is being deployed as part of Canada's contribution to fighting the “War on Terrorism.” The Canadian vessel is the first publicly known ship to be deployed to the waters of the Middle East in about a year.5 The Canadian vessel is slated to be fully integrated into "Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5), which will be seafaring in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, off the Iranian coast.
The Canadian Pacific Fleet vessel, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa, will be the twentieth official Canadian naval deployment in support of the United States and Britain in the War on Terrorism. About 225 personnel will be on board the Canadian Navy ship, including a Sea King helicopter detachment.6
While the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is supporting the
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