Pentagon strengthens naval forces in Gulf

The US Navy has deployed three additional coastal patrol ships to its Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, bolstering America’s presence in the strategic Gulf, officials said Wednesday.

The USS Tempest, the USS Squall and the USS Thunderbolt arrived Wednesday at the port of Manama, bringing the total number of patrol craft to eight, the Navy said. Continue reading

The future is now: Navy to deploys lasers on ships in 2014

The Pentagon has plans to deploy its first ever ship-mounted laser next year, a disruptive, cutting-edge weapon capable of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles with a blast of infrared energy.

Navy officials announced Monday that in early 2014, a solid-state laser prototype will be mounted to the fantail of the USS Ponce and sent to the 5th fleet region in the Middle East for real-world experience. Continue reading

Saudis are buying nuclear-capable missiles from China

The motive for this is three-fold:

  • Frustration with the unwillingness of the Obama administration.
  • A regional threat that continues to grow out of Iran and past remarks of wanting to go nuclear should Ahmadinejad’s regime continue along the nuclear proliferation path.
  • Although there’s peace/stability between the two, they’re still not truly allies of Israel.

debkafile’s military sources report that Saudi Arabia has set its feet on the path to a nuclear weapon capability and is negotiating in Beijng the purchase of Chinese nuclear-capable Dong-Fen 21 ((NATO-codenamed CSS-5) ballistic missile.

China, which has agreed to the transaction in principle, would also build a base of operations near Riyadh for the new Saudi purchases.

As we reported last year, Saudi Arabia has struck a deal with Pakistan for the availability on demand of a nuclear warhead from Islamabad’s arsenal for fitting onto a ballistic missile.

Riyadh owns a direct interest in the two most active Middle East issues: Iran and Syria.

Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been advancing for two decades regardless of countless attempts at restraint by every diplomatic tool under the sun and a rising scale of sanctions – to no avail.

Tehran marches on regardless of impediments. In Istanbul, Tuesday, July 3, the six powers and Iran failed the fourth attempt to reach an accommodation on Iran’s nuclear program.

On July 1, they redoubled their military preparedness when the European Union clamped down an oil embargo on Iran. The Saudis, the US Fifth Fleet and the entire Gulf region are since braced for Iranian reprisals which could come in the form of closure by Tehran of the vital Straits of Hormuz to shipping or strikes against the Gulf emirates’ oil exporting facilities.

Tension shot up again when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched a three-day missile drill against simulated enemy bases in the region – expanding its threats to include US forces and bases in the region, Israel and Turkey.

Full article: Saudis are buying nuclear-capable missiles from China (DEBKAfile)

U.S. carrier crosses Hormuz amid rising Gulf tensions

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group sailed through the Strait of Hormuz Tuesday more than a month after Iran warned a different carrier — USS John C. Stennis — not to return to the Gulf as Iranian navy boats sailed by.

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade, if Western moves to ban Iranian crude exports cripple its energy sector.

Tuesday aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln — part of the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet — sailed through the strait of Hormuz with the Cape St George destroyer cruising behind.

Full article: U.S. carrier crosses Hormuz amid rising Gulf tensions (Reuters)