11 May 2013

Maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and Unspoken Threats?

Maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, aimed at Iran, of course, but trying to influence their elections?

Massive US-led military drills began in the Persian Gulf in a second such show of maritime might in under a year. The US says the exercises are not aimed at Iran, who earlier vowed to close the Hormuz Strait, and now expresses concern over the drills.

The US Navy has issued a statement that the mass exercises are aimed at “enhancing capability to preserve freedom of navigation in international waterways.” The drills will reportedly focus on mine-sweeping and search-and-seizure operations, and some on-shore training.

The Pentagon is directing the maneuvers, which will reportedly involve 35 ships, 18 unmanned submarines and unmanned aircraft. The 40 other countries participating in the drills have not yet been named; Britain, France, some Middle Eastern states, and nations as distant as New Zealand have previously participated in similar exercises.

The Obama administration has stated that the maneuvers are not a warning to Iran, and are intended solely to secure a key oil route in the region.

Tehran has said it will be monitoring the exercises, and voiced concerns about how the maneuvers come in the run-up to the Iranian elections.

Iran has previously threatened to close the Hormuz Strait, through which 40 percent of the world’s oil is transported by ship, if "its interests are in serious trouble". The US condemned the threats and warned that such a move would provoke US Military action.

By: Brant

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