US Sends Missiles, Warship To The Gulf As Tension Rises With Iran

In this file photo taken on February 05, 2013 US soldiers work on a Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep. PHOTO: Bulent KILIC / AFP

 

The United States is deploying an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to bolster an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers already sent to the Gulf, ratcheting up pressure Saturday on archfoe Iran.

In response to alleged threats from Iran, the USS Arlington, which transports marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft and rotary aircraft, and the Patriot air defence system will join the Abraham Lincoln carrier group, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The carrier and a B-52 bomber task force were ordered towards the Gulf, as Washington reiterated that intelligence reports suggested Iran was planning some sort of attack in the region.

CENTCOM, the US forces for the Middle East and Afghanistan, said Friday on Twitter that the B-52 bombers arrived at the area of operations on May 8, without saying where they had landed.

US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton has said the deployment aimed to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran about any attack against the US or its partners in the region.

Washington has not elaborated on the alleged threat, drawing criticism that it is overreacting and unnecessarily driving up tensions in the region.

There was no immediate reaction from Tehran on the latest US moves, but earlier in the week it shrugged off the carrier deployment.

“Bolton’s statement is a clumsy use of an out-of-date event for psychological warfare,” Iran’s Supreme National Security Council spokesman Keyvan Khosravi said.

The increasing tensions come as Tehran said Wednesday it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a 2015 deal with major powers.

Iran said it was responding to the sweeping unilateral sanctions that Washington has re-imposed since it quit the agreement one year ago, which have dealt a severe blow to the Iranian economy.

US ‘not seeking war’

The Pentagon, for its part, said the deployments were “in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests”.

“The Department of Defence continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies,” it said.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend US forces and interests in the region.”

Amid the rising tensions, Trump said Thursday he was open to talks with Tehran’s leadership.

“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“We don’t want them to have nuclear weapons — not much to ask,” he said.

In the latest of a series of escalating statements, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the same day threatened a “swift and decisive” US response to any attack by Iran.

“Our restraint to this point should not be mistaken by Iran for a lack of resolve,” he said, adding, however: “We do not seek war.”

In May last year, Trump pulled the United States out of an agreement aimed at curtailing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and reinstated unilateral economic sanctions.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would no longer implement parts of the deal and threatened to go further if the remaining members of the pact, including the European Union, failed to deliver sanctions relief to counterbalance Trump’s renewed assault on the Iranian economy within 60 days.

AFP

U.S. Warship Indianapolis Found 18,000 Feet Deep In Pacific Ocean

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

More than seven decades after a Japanese torpedo sank the U.S.S. Indianapolis, researchers have located its wreckage at the bottom of the Pacific.

The U.S. Warship was hit as it was returning from its mission to deliver components for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

It when down in just 12 minutes and sent no distress signal.

Although 800 of its nearly 1,200 crew survived the attack, only 316 were rescued five days later.

The rest were either killed by sharks or died from exposure, dehydration or drowning.

It’s an incident famously recounted in the movie JAWS by rugged shark hunter and World War 2 vet Captain Quint.

A research team led by Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen revived the search in 2016 after a Navy historian unearthed new information about its last movements.

“We try to do this both as really exciting examples of under-water archeology and as tributes to the brave men that went down in these ships,” Allen said.

The team spent months scouring a 600-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometer) patch of ocean… before finally locating the wreckage, on Friday.

The U.S. Navy says it plans to honor the 22 survivors from the Indianapolis still alive along with the families of the ship’s crew.

Naval Chief Receives ‘NNS Centenary’ Warship

naval chief-nnsThe Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has received one of the newly acquired warships code-named ‘NNS Centenary’ into the Eastern Naval Command, to beef up security in the zone.

Taking delivery of the Warship at the NNS jetty in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, the Naval Chief, accompanied by other officers of the force, disclosed that the warship was expected to aid the command to combat oil theft, sea piracy and other crimes in the waterways.

Speaking to reporters at the jetty, Mr Ibas maintained that “the bulk of resources that bring development comes from the sea”, thus the need for the newly acquired warship to sanitise the waters and keep it safe for travelers and for business.

He maintained that the ship had the capacity to carry helicopters and other vital instruments with the will to remain on the sea for two weeks.

The Vice Admiral sounded a note of warning to criminals to desist from their activities, as it would no longer be business as usual for them, considering its sophisticated nature.

The Naval Chief later met with officers and ratings of the command on his policy directive.

Mr Ibas has called for more funding to enable the Navy combat criminality on sea.

Nigeria Acquires New Warship

WarshipThe Nigerian Navy has acquired a warship as part of efforts to tackle the issue of insecurity in the country.

After five weeks and three stops in Trinidad and Tobago, Senegal and Ghana, the warship named NNS Okpabana – an Igala word for thunder – finally berthed in Lagos.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, who received the vessel in Lagos, said that the arrival of the vessel would help the Navy improve its war on maritime crimes.

“It is worthy of note to state that the successes recorded by NNS Thunder in curtailing threats in our maritime domain and the larger Gulf of Guinea region, with the confidence reposed in our country by the USA, that made it possible to acquire NNS Okpabana.

“The addition of this ship into the NN fleet will certainly bolster our zeal to end the menace in our maritime domain and the region, as well as support the regional and global effort to eliminate transnational maritime threats.

“This nation has always requested the navy to do more and with this, the government recognises that there must be needed platform for the navy to do its job well.

“The present government headed by President Goodluck Jonathan took the recapitalisation of fleets as a huge challenge and has invested huge funds through the acquisition of two Off-Shore Patrol Vessels (OPV) from China and this one from USA.

“It is hoped that by the time we take delivery of all, the NN will be better for it,’” Jibrin said.

The unique event, which took place at the Naval dockyard in Lagos, brought together officers from the Nigerian Navy, Army, Police, personnel of the United States Embassy and military and other special guests.

The US Ambassador, James Entwinstle, who was represented by the US Consul General, Jeffrey Hawkins, stated that the United States’ support for Nigeria is hinged on its interest in seeing a well policed Gulf of Guinea.

“Many of the regions’ security challenges come from the sea, and this powerful new naval platform will enhance Nigeria’s ability to control the maritime environment.

“Okpabana is the first Nigerian vessel to have a Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (R-MAC) system on board.

“This system will link back to the NN wider R-Mack network and expand NN’s ability to track and identify vessels throughout the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.