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U.S. sends two more carrier groups to Iran’s seas

Published Aug 15, 2008 10:50 PM

Aug. 12—The impending arrival of new U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf region will mark the largest build-up of U.S. naval forces in the area since the 1991 Gulf War.

The aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Ronald Reagan, along with the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship, are sailing toward the Persian Gulf to reinforce the U.S. strike forces in the region, along with a British Royal Navy carrier battle group and a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine.

This move follows the ominous Operation Brimstone, a massive military exercise involving more than a dozen warships from the U.S., England and France in the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for a possible confrontation with Iran.

The USS Roosevelt, which participated in the just-concluded exercise, and the USS Ronald Reagan will join two U.S. naval battle groups in the area: the USS Abraham Lincoln with its Carrier Strike Group Nine; and the USS Peleliu, an amphibious assault ship, with its expeditionary strike group.

This massive deployment means that hundreds of nuclear-armed warplanes, thousands of troops, and destroyers capable of launching cruise missiles carrying nuclear weapons, bunker busters, or fragmentation bombs will be available for a strike on Iran. While Russia is bogged down with the crisis in Georgia, and China is occupied with the Olympics, the Bush administration may believe that this is an opportune time to strike. This massive deployment is occurring as both houses of Congress are set to approve resolutions that would mandate a U.S. blockade, itself an act of war under international law.

Organizers with the Stop War on Iran Campaign (SWOI), who initiated the Aug. 2 National Day of Action and report that protests occurred in more than 100 cities, call this deployment of naval forces an ominous sign that demands a response from the anti-war movement.

Sara Flounders, a SWOI organizer, said, “This massive military mobilization sends a clear signal that we must take action now to prevent another criminal U.S. war. In the next few days and weeks, we will be mobilizing in the streets against an attack on Iran. As we write, we are preparing placards, banners and printed material to take to the Republican and Democratic national convention protests. We know that the only force that will stop the drive to war is a grassroots people’s movement.”

For more information and updates, see www.StopWarOnIran.org

Dustin Langley is a Navy veteran who served aboard an amphibious assault ship and is an organizer with the Stop War on Iran Campaign.