The Pentagon is actively seeking strategic measures to prevent further instances of Iran’s military seizing international vessels, particularly in and around the crucial Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf area. Lately, there has been a back-and-forth series of tanker seizures between Tehran and Washington as the US aims to enforce crude oil sanctions against Iran.
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As per a report by The Associated Press on Thursday, the US is now contemplating more drastic actions, considering the possibility of placing armed personnel on commercial ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. This unprecedented move is intended to deter Iran from seizing and harassing civilian vessels. According to four American officials cited in the report, there are indications that Marines might already be undergoing training for this proposed initiative.
The ‘tanker wars,’ which began in the summer of 2019, have recently garnered attention with headlines such as “Quiet US Seizure Of Iranian Crude Prompted Iran’s Capture Of Houston-Destined Tanker.”
Although there are no specific details yet about the potential plan to deploy US military personnel on tankers entering regions where Iranian naval patrols are known to be active, this decision follows Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s announcement that additional Marines have been dispatched to the Gulf region.
In late July, Austin announced the deployment of the USS Bataan amphibious readiness group and the 26th Marine Expeditional Unit, comprising approximately 2,500 Marines. The purpose of this deployment is to enhance flexibility and maritime capabilities in the region.
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The amphibious readiness group comprises three ships: the Bataan warship, along with the USS Mesa Verde and the USS Carter Hall. These vessels had already departed from Norfolk, Virginia, earlier in July.
To address the escalating threat to tankers, the Pentagon had dispatched the USS Thomas Hudner and additional F-35 and F-16 fighter jets to the region a few weeks ago. These fighter jets were intended to support A-10 attack aircraft and safeguard the tankers, one of which had recently been fired upon.
Interestingly, these increased actions against Tehran coincide with the US sending more advanced combat jets to counter aggressive behavior from Russian aircraft in the skies over Syria. Furthermore, there are mounting concerns that pro-Iranian factions may target additional US outposts in northeast Syria.
The Pentagon is paying the price for going “woke,” as only the Marine Corps and the newly created Space Force met their recruiting goals in 2022, while the three largest branches fell short or marginally achieved their reconfigured goals.