A week ago, on Feb. 12, North Korea launched a missile, using new “cold eject” technology which makes it possible to fire a missile from a submarine. Military experts in Washington and Jerusalem estimate that once Pyongyang has perfected the system, it will be passed to Tehran, an eventuality covered in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s White House talks with President Trump last week, our sources reveal.
Washington has publicly announced the transfer of a naval-air force to the South China Sea, the deployment of the large 11th Marine Expeditionary Combat Unit to the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea is being kept low key.
The conventional thinking until now was that, in the event of an Iranian clash with the US or Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Tehran would push back by blocking the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Today, American forces have been placed in position to prevent Iran from blocking the Strait of Mandeb, and so choking the main sea route used by oil and merchant shipping sailing to and from the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, by posting missile bases on Yemen’s western Red Sea coast.
The 4,500-strong contingent of MEC marines and sailors is supported by the fighters and attack helicopters on board the USS Makin Island amphibious assault ship, the USS Somerset amphibious transport and the USS Comstockdock landing ship. Their task is to keep the strategic waterway open and safe.
The deployment of the USS Cole destroyer around the strait was announced on Feb. 3, days after a suicide boat attack by Yemeni Houthi rebels on the Saudi frigate Al Madinah off the Yemeni port of Al Hudaydah.
There are currently three major flash points in the world, where a false step could rapidly lead to escalation and a major war from which human civilization would be the main loser. Those flashpoints are the Middle East, the South China Sea and Ukraine/Crimea. In each of them Australia has made major missteps, invariably at the request of the Americans, and where Australia’s national interest is either non-existent or the opposite of the actions that have been taken.
The recent upsurge in fighting in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, collectively referred to as Donbass, where Ukrainian forces have vastly increased the artillery barrage of civilian areas has sharpened the likelihood of a mores serious war breaking out. In these circumstances the responsibility of the media to accurately report what is happening and why is high. Yet, as is so often the case, we are treated to a non-stop barrage of misinformation and outright propaganda.
General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard force’s ground units, announced the upcoming military exercise on Iranian media on Saturday, saying the exercises were aimed at demonstrating Iran’s “complete preparedness to deal with the threats” and “humiliating sanctions” from Washington. It was not revealed what type of missiles will be used in the exercise.
The military exercise comes at a time when tensions are high between the US and Tehran. Two weeks ago, the US government placed economic sanctions on more than two dozen companies and people involved in Iran’s missile program in response to a ballistic missile test that violated international agreements. In a manner that seemed intended to test newly inaugurated President Trump, days after the sanctions were installed, Iran test-fired short range missiles.