Bush bows down to his two keepers: The House of Saud and Israel | US considers naval build-up as warning to Iran
US considers naval build-up as warning to Iran | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited:
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower has been in the region since September, along with four other ships and submarines carrying 6,500 sailors. The navy could move other carriers into the region within six weeks. The USS Stennis, a cruiser which was scheduled to deploy in early 2007 in any event, would be the most likely ship to be deployed.
However, if the US were to contemplate a military strike, it would need far more than two carriers, said Reva Bhalla, an analyst at Strategic Forecasting Inc. The US deployed five carriers ahead of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Outgoing UN secretary general Kofi Annan said yesterday that military intervention in Iran would be 'unwise and disastrous', as the Security Council debated a resolution that would impose sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme. 'I believe that the council, which is discussing the issue, will proceed cautiously and try and do whatever it can to get a negotiated settlement,' he said.
The latest draft resolution would order all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's nuclear programmes.
Reports that the US is leaning towards an even stronger posture against Iran reflects indications that Washington wants to deepen its military presence in the region. It follows warnings from Saudi Arabia that it would fund Sunni militias in Iraq in the event of a US troop withdrawal. 'The aircraft carrier is a way of assuring the Saudis that the inclination is to do more rather than less, and that we are not going to leave them in the lurch,' said John Pike, a military analyst.