FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, March 24, 2005

US Carrier Groups Converge on the Middle East

Virtually lost in the chatter between the Terry Schiavo controversy, the Michael Jackson trial and assorted other news stories are reports that three US aircraft carrier groups are either headed to or are in place around the Middle East. The carriers USS Carl Vinson and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are en route to the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea respectively. This will mark the first time since February 2004 that the US will have had so much naval firepower in the region. As India Daily reports:

Each of these carrier groups carry nearly 85 aircraft and is capable of delivering precision-guided munitions. In addition, there are anti-submarine aircraft, airborne-early-warning and rotary-wing aircraft. Because [of] in-the-air refueling capabilities, these aircrafts can operate from a long distance. The carrier groups are independent and can operate indefinitely.

So what's up? Blogger Glenn Reynolds and conservative commentator Jerome Corsi speculate that the US and the Europeans are preparing a "good cop, bad cop" routine with Syria and Iran. The Europeans will continue friendly negotiations while the US stands behind them with the brass knuckles. Corsi in particular believes that the Bush administration is losing patience with Iran and its insistence that it is not building nuclear weapons.

Are we looking at preparations for a showdown with one or both countries, perhaps sooner rather than later? If negotiations break down, and if the administration feels confident with the progress of democracy in Iraq and Lebanon (both of which are still very much question marks), anything could happen.

Sources: WorldNetDaily, India Daily