An influential bipartisan think tank has called on Washington to deploy yet another carrier battle group in a bid to threaten Iran, despite the presence of two U.S. warships already in the region.
“The United States should deploy ships, step up covert activities and sharpen its rhetoric to make more credible the threat of a U.S. military strike to stop Iran’s nuclear program, a bipartisan group said,” reports Haaretz.
The organization behind the call, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), is a think tank that counts amongst its directors Norman R. Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, as well as Jane Garvey, an executive director at JPMorgan. The group is headed up by former Senators including Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George J. Mitchell.
Entitled Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock, the report calls on the Obama administration to “bolster the presence of the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman by deploying an additional carrier battle group and minesweepers off Iran, conducting broad military exercises in the region with allies, and prepositioning supplies for the possibility of military action against Iran.”
There are already two carrier battle groups located in the waters just outside Iran, with the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln already stationed in the region, along with the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
Last month, three aircraft carriers patrolled the sensitive waters near the Strait of Hormuz, with the USS John C. Stennis briefly remaining in the region before being replaced by the Lincoln.
US intelligence officials upped the rhetoric against Iran during congressional testimony by claiming that Tehran is prepared to launch reprisal attacks inside the United States.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. cited the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil as a sign that, “Some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”
As we documented at the time, according to retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, no information concerning the supposed plot even existed within FBI channels, strongly suggesting the story was manufactured by the Obama administration.
The New York Times also reported that the dubious nature of the plot caused “a wave of puzzlement and skepticism from some foreign leaders and outside experts.”
Advocates of an attack on Iran have implied that the US could stage a provocation as a pretext for a military assault.
In January 2008, Dick Cheney’s office considered staging an incident to be blamed on Iran wherein US ships patrolling the Strait of Hormuz were attacked.