The naval exercise to be held by US, Bahrain and allies later this month brings a massive concentration of American naval, air and marine might to the Persian Gulf

US officials said the exercise starting Oct. 31 will practice interdicting ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles.
debkafile‘s military sources report: US naval, air and marine forces are massing in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and eastern Mediterranean opposite Lebanon and Syria. The big USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (pictgure) arrives by Oct. 21. Facing these units are Iranian Revolutionary Guards naval, air and marine units together with the Iranian armed forces on full war preparedness.
The forthcoming DEBKA-Net-Weekly discusses this menacing maneuver at length in its coming issue out on Friday.
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The US announcement came as the US and other powers discussed sanctions on North Korea, including searching its ships following Monday’s nuclear test. It followed shortly after they also agreed on a Security Council session next week to impose sanctions on Iran.
The US spokesman said the exercise, in which Bahrain, Kuwait, France, Britain, Canada and others will take part, will demonstrate “our resolve and readiness to act” against nuclear proliferation. South Korea will be an observer. Clearly the Bush administration has more forceful “repercussions” in mind for Iran than diplomacy.
Iran will no doubt respond to the demonstrative exercise, the massing of US forces around its shores and the threat of UN sanctions by a counter-stroke that raises tensions in the region and involves Iraq and/or the countries on Israel’s border – Lebanon and Syria.

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