Friday, September 21, 2012

Saber-rattling in the Persian Gulf

The US Navy & 29 other countries are now engaged in mine-clearing & mine-countermeasure military operations in the Persian Gulf region. These 12-day, so-called exercises are a show of force against Iran involving helicopters, diving, small-boat exercises, underwater explosive devices, & explosive ordnance disposal. In addition to the mine-sweeping operation, the US has two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region. According to the Pentagon, the exercise will focus on the “hypothetical threat” of Iran mining the strategic waterways in the region, including the Strait of Hormuz (the waterway between Iran & Oman where a fifth of the world’s traded oil is shipped), the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, & the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government periodically threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to international sanctions to dissuade them from developing nuclear weapons. There’s nothing hypothetical at all about the threats against Iran coming out of the White House, Pentagon & US Congress: according to one spokesperson, the carriers tell Iran the US “can easily project devastating power onto Iranian soil at a moment’s notice”, & according another spokesperson, the multinational participation shows “we are not alone--it’s just not the United States bullying Iran.” You don’t have to be a supporter of the Iranian government to oppose the threat of war against Iran & to oppose the provocation these exercises represent, where the US & its allies do a trial run of their siege right near Iran’s border.

It is not irrelevant that US military personnel have set up camp & are holding press briefings in Bahrain, where under the direction of US & UK police officials, the regime is engaged in violent repression against the democracy movement. Undoubtedly, the saber-rattling operation is directed at the people of Bahrain as well as Iran. This photo is of the US military base in Manama, Bahrain.

The US is involved in so many military operations the antiwar movement can hardly keep up with them. But it tries. Antiwar actions are planned for October 5-7 in several US cities. For info contact:

(Photo by Hasan Jamali/AP)

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