.According to open source information collected by STRATFOR, we now have a very large amount of naval firepower right off the southern coast of Iran, including two Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) with their associated Carrier Air Wings (CVW) and two Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) with their associated Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU). The ARGs are centered around Big Deck Amphibious Warfare ships -- essentially aircraft carriers under another name.
These ships have been stationed near Iran for almost two weeks now.
Here is the map:
click for larger image
In addition to an aircraft carrier, each CSG typically has two guided missile cruisers (with cruise missiles and standard missiles), one guided missile destroyer (for air defense), one destroyer (for anti-submarine warfare), two attack submarines, and at least one ammunition, oiler, and supply ship. The makeup varies and often includes other ships.
We have not had this many ships in the area since the invasion of Iraq.
Perhaps they are to support "anti-piracy operations" near Somalia, or perhaps they are to help in "Pakistan flood relief efforts", or perhaps they are to provide force projection into Obama's favorite war zone, Afghanistan.
Or perhaps they are going to attack Iranian nuclear and missile sites. I note that the primary site for Iranian long range missile launches was destroyed by three large and mysterious explosions several weeks ago -- perhaps taking away their ability to hit Israel.
It is interesting that another aircraft carrier from France, the Charles de Gaulle, most likely along with its support ships, was scheduled to meet with our groups on October 15th, but has been delayed "for several weeks" due to a mechanical problem with a "security valve on the aft propulsion circuit". I am not sure where the de Gaulle is right now, but its delay may be the reason we are just hanging around for the last couple of weeks instead of doing something.
Funny that the French are a little late to the party again, as they were during the Revolutionary War. It has been clear recently that they are probably the only friends who would help us attack Iran.
Also interesting in the presence of another CSG near Japan (where it can protect against North Korea), and three CSGs/ARGs off the east coast and three off the west coast of the US. Usually they are scattered all over the world, but right now they seem to be stationed to protect our coasts. It is a very unusual configuration.
I find it hard to believe that Obama would do anything about anything, but this deployment is very odd.
I think something is up.