To meet increasingly defiant Iranian threats to US regional military forces, Washington has detached the USS Truman carrier from support duty for Afghanistan in the Arabian Sea and reassigned it to Dubai opposite the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz with thousands of marines aboard.
Reporting this, debkafile's military sources note that the Iranian submarine attack on a Japanese oil supertanker last month near Hormuz underlined the urgency of heightened security for keeping the vital straits open.
Tuesday, Aug. 10, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Navy (which is Iran's only real naval force), remarked: "Aircraft Carrier USS Truman is currently at Jebel Ali" – 35 kilometers southwest of Dubai – "and will quickly leave the region."
Speaking to reporters at the Bandar Abbas naval base, the admiral announced the addition of twelve torpedo and missile cruisers to the IRGC Navy and the purchase of a British Bladerunner speedboat. "What worries the Americans is that we have equipped (the speedboat) with military gear," he said.
Our Iranian sources note that Tehran keeps track of – and responds instantly with fleet deployments of its own – to every US naval movement in a broad radius from its shores – from the Red Sea in the North, to the Gulfs of Aden and Oman in the East, the Horn of Africa in the west and the southern approaches to the Indian Ocean.
debkafile of April 22, 2010, first revealed that Iran was preparing a fleet of speedboats for striking American air carriers. (To read this article click here.)
By announcing that Iran had equipped the speedboats with military gear added, Fadavi unveiled Iran's counter-threat to US air carriers in general and the USS Truman in particular. Our military sources report that the souped-up Bladerunners have a speed of 61/5 MPH. They Russian-made Shkval torpedoes they carry had travel up to 360 knots per hour, the fastest of any comparable torpedo in service today, a speed which defies radar detection.
Two days earlier, on Aug. 8, Iran launched four Ghadir-type mini-submarines from the same base at Bandar Abbas.
The USS Truman Strike force carries 6,000 marines and sailors and Carrier Wing Three consisting of seven Battle Axe squadrons. It leads a flotilla of four more vessels: the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy, the guided missile destroyer USSWinston S. Churchill, the USS Oscar Austin destroyer and the guided missile destroyer USS Ross.
Another carrier, the USS Peleliu and its marine force are in the Arabian Sea waiting for permission to enter Karachi port and render aid to the millions of flood-stricken Pakistanis. The USS Nassau is cruising in the Gulf Aden.
In a bid to further dramatize Iran's readiness for war, IRGC Deputy Chief Gen. Hossein Kan'ani Moghadam announced Tuesday, Aug. 10: "The mass graves that were used for burying Saddam's soldiers [in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s] have now been prepared for US soldiers – and this is the reason for digging a large number of graves."
The Iranian media ran this statement as a headline with large photos of the fresh graves.
debkafile's military sources report that Tehran is also flexing its muscles against the United States in Lebanon. After the Lebanese army's Aug. 3 clash with Israel, the Iranian ambassador called on the Lebanese chief of staff and offered Tehran's support for Beirut. He also proposed Iranian military assistance to take the place of the American hardware which US Congress proposes to cut off after the Lebanese army instigated the clash.
The Iranian diplomat proposed invoking the 2008 Iranian-Lebanese military accord which provides for Iranian arms, including heavy weapons, to be supplied to Lebanon together with Iranian military instructors.
This proposition was dismissed by US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley when he said Tuesday: "Iran's activities compromise Lebanese sovereignty."
Stepping up the pressure on Beirut to abandon its pro-Western orientation, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced he will pay a visit Beirut after Ramadan (which began Tuesday night, Aug, 10 and runs for 30 days).