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 Jan. 20, 2007  03:25 
It seems that all of our stupid president's decisions are based on everything going perfectly. If pressuring ... >>
Jan. 18, 2007
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American Aircraft Carrier Deployed to the Persian Gulf
The US naval command announced yesterday that a fleet of American warships, including the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, have been deployed to the Persian Gulf. Washington is making no secret of the fact that the amount of American military might that is being concentrated in the region is intended to bring pressure to bear on Iran, which the Bush administration blames for the failure of its mission in Iraq. The prevailing opinion in the region is that the United States is planning to strike Iran within the next few months.
The deployment of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, which left the naval base at Bremerton, Washington on Tuesday, was confirmed by Commander Kevin Aandahl of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. The nuclear-powered Nimitz-class Stennis is accompanied by eight escort ships. The carrier, which is crewed by more than 3,000 sailors, will stop off at the naval base in San Diego to pick up an 80-plane air wing before charting a course for the Persian Gulf.

This is the second aircraft carrier that the US has sent to the Persian Gulf since the beginning of the military operations in Iraq in 2003 (the first was the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is still deployed there). Military experts point out that the arrival of the Stennis in the gulf will approximately double the American naval strength in the region.

According to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the buildup of American military power in the Persian Gulf is intended to get Iran's attention. "By all appearances, the Iranians believe that we are bogged down in Iraq and that they possess the initiative giving them the ability to pressure us in various ways," said the chief of the Pentagon. In his assertion that the United States intends to deprive Iran of the levers that it uses to exert pressure on the Americans in Iraq, Mr. Gates was effectively parroting the White House, which has laid out its position on the matter in President Bush's new Iran doctrine and in recent statements by representatives of the president's team. "The US is only responding to the growing restlessness of Iran, which is now trying not only to destabilize the situation in Iraq, as was the case earlier, but also threatening our forces in that country.," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week as she departed for a grand tour of the Near East aimed at creating a broad anti-Iran coalition with moderate Arab regimes. Ms. Rice also noted at the time that the pressure in question is political in nature and that the US is not planning a military strike against Iran. By all appearances, that announcement was intended to pacify members of Congress who grilled representatives of the Bush administration during recent hearings on Iraq about whether the White House would decide to attack Iran and Syria and whether it would do so without approval from Congress. The administration's representatives replied that diplomacy would be given priority in the resolution of the Iran problem, but they tellingly refused to completely rule out a military operation.

Meanwhile, the deployment of the carrier Stennis has provoked much commentary in the region. The conclusion has been drawn by some that the American display of muscle power is more than just for show: that it is a preparation for a use of force that will be launched from the water. The timeframe for the strike is estimated as spring of this year. In the opinion of experts, America's main targets will be Iranian nuclear and oil facilities, and an attack from the sea will allow the US to avoid putting its allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia or Iraq, in danger.

Experts are paying a great deal of attention to one last crucial circumstance that, in their opinion, could shed some light on Washington's plans: the stockpiling of Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems in the region. These interceptor systems are intended to protect American installations on the ground and American allies in the region from Iranian missiles.

Sergei Tamilin

All the Article in Russian as of Jan. 18, 2007

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