There are two dance floors in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. One dance floor resides outside of Syria while the other resides outside of Iran. But the dance floors are getting quite crowded and will get even more jam packed in the next few weeks.
The Russian aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, along with two escort ships has arrived in the Syrian port of Tarctus to give support to the Syrian military as the continue to fend off those who want the violent regime of Bashar al-Assad to end. Meanwhile, on yesterday’s Face the Nation, both Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the head of the Joint Chiefs stressed that the closing of the Straits of Hormuz would not be allowed to happen.
As a result, the U.S. Navy has launched its largest drone, thevRQ-4 Gobal Hawk from the deck of the U.S. carrier Stennis to acquire recon information about ship traffic off the coast of Iran. The drone is called a BAMS, or Broad Aerial Maritime Surveillance Mission. The drone is looking for evidence that the Iranian navy is attempting to make good on their threat to close the Straits.
Meanwhile, Britain has sent its most state-of-the-art destroyer, the HMS Daring to the Sea of Oman while the French have sent the carrier Charles De Gaulle and its battle group there as well. Both will be on station in a few days. So yes the dance floors are getting more crowded by the day.
So we have a carrier group in the eastern Mediterranean, the Russians do, too, and the French and Italians are maintaining a presence as well. We have one carrier battle group on station at the edge of the Persian Gulf and another on the way. Our allies have ships in the areas as well.
Yet Iran continues to ratchet up the tensions in the region, first with their threat to close the Straits of Hormuz, and second with the continuation of the nuclear program. And most disturbing was a statement made yestrerday by Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency. He said, “…the Islamic Republic is capable of exporting services related to nuclear energy to other countries." So is this more insane rhetoric or is Davani suggesting that Iran is ready, willing, and able to pass on nuclear technology secrets to nations that want to do bad things, or is it calculated bluster? Only time will tell.
But meanwhile the dance floors are getting more and more crowded, and this is one dance you don’t want to hold.