Boxer spent two months this summer testing its missile and launch systems prior to uploading ordnance
for its deployment to the Persian Gulf on September 27 and 28th. VIDEO
Warfare Commanders: Ensuring Strike Group Success
ESG 5 is comprised of Boxer, Bunker Hill, USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Benfold (DDG 65), and USS Howard (DDG 83). ESG 5 also includes PHIBRON 5, the 15th MEU, Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WHEC 726) and Canadian Frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341).
The strike group's warfare command is comprised of PHIBRON 5 as Mine Warfare Commander, Maritime Interdiction Commander, Maritime Strike Operations Commander and Amphibious Warfare Commander. The warfare command also includes Howard as Air Defense Commander, Boxer as Information Warfare Commander, Bunker Hill as Sea Combat Commander and the Commanding Officer of the 15th MEU.
The strike group is currently conducting operations in support of the global war on terrorism while transiting to the Persian Gulf.
An exercise involving the US Navy and GCC Gulf States was announced earlier this month and scheduled for October 31st.
Naval Interdiction Exercise Said Planned for Persian Gulf
"It's an effort to bring a lot of Gulf states together to demonstrate resolve and readiness to act against proliferation," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Proliferation Security Initiative, established in 2003 under President George W. Bush, is a voluntary association of countries that agree to share intelligence information and work against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including through military exercises that practice interdiction techniques and coordination.
Bahrain and Kuwait are expected to be among the participating countries along with the United States, France and Britain.
Other Gulf states are still deciding whether to join the sea-based exercise, which will be preceded by "table-top" exercises at the U.S. naval regional headquarters in Manama, Bahrain, one official said.
Finally, the White House appears to have made its decision and has engaged the State Department and Pentagon in preparations for war. From William R. Polk, Moves Toward War With Iran: Part 2.
Despite the misgivings of the military professionals, Joseph Cirincione wrote in the March issue of Foreign Policy that conversations with senior officials in the Pentagon and the White House had convinced him that the decision for war had already been made.
The Washington Post has reported that at least since March, large teams have been working on invasion plans in the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, while the Iran "desk" at the State Department has been augmented to task force size. It reports to Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of the vice president, who is assistant secretary of state for the Near East. In the Pentagon, a similar organization has been established under Neoconservative Abram Shulsky. In addition a new outpost has been set up in Dubai to coordinate plans. On October 2, a powerful naval battle group around the giant aircraft carrier Eisenhower sailed for the Persian Gulf and is due to arrive a week before the November Congressional elections to join a similar battle group led by the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Meanwhile aircraft of the U.S. Air Force are being readied in bases surrounding Iran and in distant locations. These forces could deliver destructive power that would dwarf the aerial assaults on Iraq.
While we may think it madness to expand the war in the Middle East to Iran and Syria, clearly the neocons in the White House think it desirable and inevitable. The statement earlier this month from Richard Perle that the problems in Iraq were due to failure to address Iran and Syria are likely to prove an accurate depiction of Bush/Cheney policy. Perle said, "Rumsfeld has been forced to paint on a canvas that is simply too small."
For a similiar neocon warmongering view, read this piece by Spengler in the Asia Times which says that simultaneously attacking Iran, Syria and Lebanon (via Israel) is the solution to our problems in Iraq:
In fact, there is another option, namely to stop treating the conflict as an Iraqi matter and extending it to the whole region, first of all by attacking Iranian nuclear installations, and second by destabilizing Iran. Regime change as such may be a fantasy, but keeping the Iranians busy with problems inside their own borders is not. Widening the conflict is just what the US could not do in Vietnam without risking war with Russia or China.
Syria, Iran's main ally in the region, would be caught up in the whirlwind. Hezbollah could not stand by while its main sponsor came under US fire. Even a limited US attack on Iranian nuclear capability would blow up the ceasefire on the Israel-Lebanon border. This time Israel would advance to the Litani River (which Washington reportedly forbade last summer). Syria most likely would be drawn into the war. Even if it were not, the movement of a million Shi'ite refugees into Syria, including many Hezbollah fighters, would make the tenure of the Alawite regime in Damascus slippery.
. . .
As for the Persians: they have been rather a nuisance since Thermopylae in 480 BC, and it is time that someone taught them a lesson.
Finally, it occurs to me that a hot war in the Middle East would provide ideal cover for sweeping flawed or rigged midterm election results under the White House carpet and denying calls for investigation of election irregularities. As I diaried last week, 'The president fully intends to maintain control of the House and the Senate'. A hot war with Iran, Syria and Lebanon would certainly give a pretext to "maintaining control".
On the off chance China and Russia might get involved, you might want to think about stocking up on some potassium iodate to protect against nuclear fallout. Tablets must be taken within 3 hours of radiation exposure for best protection. It isn't so expensive and keeps indefinitely if sealed. Just saying . . .
Previous LondonYank diaries on this topic:
3 US Navy Strike Groups Now In Persian Gulf - Enough for War?
Do You Smell The Aroma Of Cooking Intelligence?
The Prince of Darkness: 'Iraq canvas simply too small'
20,000 Sailors Go To War - Massive US and Allied Naval Deployment
WBTC: Taheri and Fakhravar update Iran lies
Wow! Lookee! A Value-For-Money Military!
BREAKING: UN/UK call for Lebanon 'Peace Force' - Suez Gambit?
Suez? Tonkin? Liberty? Choose your (faux) casus belli!
WBTC: Iran Suicide Bombers Wanted - no experience necessary
WBTC: Fakhravar the new Curveball?
PsyOps: Walking Back the Cat
The Global War On Smarties
Torture Iranian Style - courtesy and 5 star hotels
Aspens Hobbling the UN with Oil For Food Forgeries?
IRAN: Aspens Turning, Forged Letters, Fake Terror, Real War