The Pentagon on Friday announced that it was deploying an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to bolster an aircraft carrier force sent to counter alleged threats from Iran.
The USS Arlington, which transports marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft and rotary aircraft, and the Patriot air defense system are to join the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a B-52 bomber task force headed toward the Gulf after intelligence reports suggested Iran was planning some sort of attack in the region.
The deployment is “in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Photo: AFP / US Marine
“The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies,” it said. “The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend US forces and interests in the region.”
The US late last year removed Patriot missile batteries from Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan. It was not clear if the battery would go back to one of those countries.
On Sunday last week, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton announced the deployment of the Lincoln group and bombers saying he wanted to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran about any attack against the US or its partners in the region.
In an advisory posted on Thursday, the US Maritime Administration said that since early this month there had been an increased possibility of Iran or its regional proxies taking action against US and partner interests.
“Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or US military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf,” it said.
“Reporting indicates heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and interests,” it added.
Iran dismissed the deployment of the Lincoln as old news, but followed it with an announcement that it would suspend some of its commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with major powers abandoned by the US last year.
Amid the rising tensions, Trump on Thursday said that he is open to talks with Tehran’s leadership.
“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“We don’t want them to have nuclear weapons — not much to ask,” he said.
However, Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards said that the country would not negotiate with the US, a stance that seemed partly aimed at discouraging Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his moderate allies from taking up the offer.
Additional reporting by Reuters
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”