US set for Operation Iranian Freedom? Pentagon ready
Washington is prepared to engage in war over the Strait of Hormuz at any moment, the Pentagon says. Some observers say the dangerous move is being viewed as a far from worst-case scenario in America, especially by its hawks.
American troops in the Persian Gulf region do not require any build-up for a possible military conflict with Iran, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
“We are not making any special steps at this point in order to deal with the situation. Why? Because, frankly, we are fully prepared to deal with that situation now,” Panetta explained.
The US says it will attack Iran if it tries to block the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial route for regional oil transit. Tehran has threatened to stop traffic through the Strait in response to mounting pressure, including threats, sanctions and particularly an air strike on its nuclear facilities, which Israel and the US say are on the table.
The US Navy has two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region at the moment, presumably performing a routine rotation. US troops are also stationed in a number of nearby countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and other Gulf nations.
Panetta’s ready-for-war rhetoric was frowned upon by Beijing. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin commented on Thursday that “sanctions and military threats will not help solve the problem but only aggravate the situation.”
Russia holds a similar position on the brewing conflict. “What Western states… have been adding as they adopt their additional unilateral sanctions against Iran has nothing in common with the desire to keep the nuclear weapons nonproliferation regime unshaken,” Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, warned at his Q&A conference on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has reiterated that Tehran wants talks on the nuclear issue, which Western powers cite as the main motive for sanctions against the country. But, Salehi maintained, it is up to the other parties, particularly the US and EU, to arrange a time and place for a meeting.
“We want peace and tranquility in the region,” Salehi said during a visit to Turkey. “I am calling to all countries in the region, please don’t let yourselves be dragged into a dangerous position.”
At the same time, the EU’s foreign policy and security chief, Catherine Ashton, told journalists such a meeting is not being prepared at the moment.
US President Barack Obama is being pressured by domestic hawks to attack Iran, according to political analyst Igor Khokhlov from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
most of the chess pieces are lined up..most sides have been taken..just needs the match..what will it be?