U.S. Naval Buildup in Persian Gulf

March 31, 2007

This week the U.S. launched a massive military exercise in the Persian Gulf.

The maneuvers with two aircraft battle groups, 15 other warships, more than 100 warplanes, and over 10,000 U.S. military personnel, were described by Pentagon officials as a "warning" to Iran. "If there is a strong presence," said Capt. Bradley Johanson, "then it sends a clear message that you better be careful," he said. U.S. commander of the Navy's 5th fleet, Kevin Aandahl, also said "...What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and security." U.S. Under-secretary of State, Nicholas Burns, added "The gulf is not an Iranian lake."

It is the first time two U.S. aircraft carriers have operated in the Gulf since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Each carrier carries an air wing of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighter-bombers, EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, S-3 Viking refueling and anti-submarine planes, and E-2C Hawkeye airborne command-and-control aircraft. Also taking part were six guided-missile destroyers, the Anzio, Ramage, O'Kane, Mason, Preble and Nitze; the frigate Hawes; amphibious assault ships Boxer and Bataan; and the minesweepers Scout, Gladiator and Ardent. On March 30, Pentagon officials announced that another aircraft carrier battle group, the USS Nimitz, will deploy this month to the Gulf "to replace the Eisenhower group."

On March 27, the Novosti news service said that Russian military intelligence is also reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. military forces near Iran's borders. "The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," a high-ranking officer stated. Patriot missile systems were also being sent to the region, according to the news service.

In addition to over 150,000 troops occupying Iraq, the United States has close to 40,000 other troops based in the Gulf region, including 25,000 in Kuwait, 3,000 in Bahrain, 1,300 in the United Arab Emirates and hundreds more based in Oman and Saudi Arabia.

As part of U.S. imperialism's all-around pressure and interference against the country, the U.S. also urged the U.N. Security Council to pass new economic and trade sanctions against Iran on March 24th. The U.S. wants to bully the international community to impose punitive sanctions on Iran and to isolate the Iranian government diplomatically, politically and economically.

The possibility of U.S. military action against Iran cannot be ruled out. Gaining control over Iran and its huge oil resources are part of U.S. imperialism's grand strategy for recolonizing the entire Middle East. It is vital at this time for the American people to remain active and resolute in opposing every aggressive step taken by the U.S. government so as to thwart its war plans against Iran.