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Military Watches the Middle East

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Several years ago I had the pleasure to tour the John C. Stennis Aircraft carrier when she was in San Diego for refurb after her maiden voyage- the cutting torches were going everywhere, computers were being upgraded, launch systems, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_John_C._Stennis_(CVN-74) This is common for a 6 month old ship since they are designed and approved so far back that the technology is out of date before they take delivery.  I wish I could remember the amount of fuel used per day in port (including electrical) and under sail for this ship (she is a nuke but her planes and escorts are not) and it's escorts- but the cost per day is astromical. Some of you who have served know the true costs much more than I since I was never in the military. Is this necessary- yes, but do have extra carriers and expense to guard the Gulf to keep oil flowing- yes. Would we likely still be concerned about this area if we did not use oil from there- yes- because it could affect the rest of the world economies where they ignore this and let us defend it for them, all the while burning oil under our subsidized protection. The article below sheds some light on this without the back and forth there was on why we were in Iraq;





US military HQ in Mideast watching Gulf unrest

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EmailPrint..By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer – Wed Feb 16, 10:43 am ET

WASHINGTON – Unrest surging through the Arab world has so far taken no toll on the American military. But that could change if revolt washes over the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain — longtime home to the U.S. Navy's mighty 5th Fleet and arguably the Middle East anchor of U.S. defense strategy.


The discontent that has spilled into the streets of Bahrain's capital, Manama, this week features no anti-American sentiment, but the U.S. has a lot at stake in preserving its dominant naval presence in the Gulf.


On Wednesday, protesters held their ground in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital's landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressure on Bahrain's rulers. Security forces pulled back, apparently on orders to ease tensions. Police helicopters, however, flew low over a major funeral procession for one of two protesters killed in earlier demonstrations.


In announcing that it is "very concerned" about violence linked to the protests, the State Department on Tuesday underscored Bahrain's strategic importance as a U.S. partner.


"The United States welcomes the government of Bahrain's statements that it will investigate these deaths, and that it will take legal action against any unjustified use of force by Bahraini security forces," said department spokesman P.J. Crowley. "We urge that it follow through on these statements as quickly as possible."


The 5th Fleet operates at least one aircraft carrier in the Gulf at all times, along with an "amphibious ready group" of ships with Marines aboard. Their presence is central to a longstanding U.S. commitment to ensuring the free flow of oil through the Gulf, while keeping an eye on a hostile Iran and seeking to deter piracy in the region.


A spokeswoman for 5th Fleet, Navy Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost, said Wednesday, "We are monitoring the situation here, as the protests are not directed at the U.S. military presence." Sailors, civilian personnel and family members have been advised to avoid sites where the protests are occurring, she added.


Anthony Cordesman, a Mideast defense specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Bahrain has security services capable of handling protesters and potentially backed by neighboring Saudi Arabia.


Thousands of banner-waving protesters took over a main square in Manama Tuesday in an attempt to copy Egypt's uprising. The demonstrations capped two days of clashes that left at least two people dead, and the king made a rare address on national television to offer condolences for the bloodshed.


"It is a serious problem, but whether it's going to flare up any more seriously this time than all the other times is hard to say," Cordesman said. "The question is whether they can shake the security structure of the state."


The implications for U.S. foreign policy and national security from the pro-democracy movements that have arisen in the Arab world — highlighted by Egypt's stunning revolution — is likely to be a topic Wednesday when Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies before the House Armed Services Committee.


Bahrain became a more prominent partner for the Pentagon after the 1991 Gulf War with Iraq; since then it has granted U.S. forces increased access, plus permission to store wartime supplies for future crises.


In the weeks leading up to popular revolts that toppled autocratic regimes first in Tunisia and then Egypt, Obama administration officials portrayed Bahrain as being on the right track toward democracy.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a visit to Manama in December, called Bahrain "a model partner," not only for the United States but also for other countries in the region seeking political liberalization.


"I am impressed by the commitment that the government has to the democratic path that Bahrain is walking on," Clinton told a news conference Dec. 3, with Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa at her side. "It takes time; we know that from our own experience. There are obstacles and difficulties along the way. But America will continue working with you to promote a vigorous civil society and to ensure that democracy, human rights and civil liberties are protected by the rule of law."


The tiny island kingdom has been the most volatile in the Gulf. Majority Shiites have long alleged discrimination and other abuses by Sunni rulers. A wave of arrests of Shiite activists last year touched off weeks of protests and clashes — and a highly sensitive trial of 25 Shiites accused of plotting against the state.


Bahrain has seen sporadic unrest for decades as Shiites — who represent 70 percent of the nation's 530,000 citizens — press for a greater political voice and opportunities. Reforms in the past decade, including parliamentary elections, have opened more room for Shiites. But they complain the Sunni-directed system still excludes them from any key policymaking roles or top posts in the security forces.


Bahrain is one of four Gulf countries with U.S. Patriot missiles based on their soil to defend against potential attack from Iran.



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What I find interesting is we are always hearing about evil Iran. If we do a little research, part of the problem is because of our idiot leaders 60 years ago. Britain was getting cheap oil from Iran, basically stealing it, when in the early 50's Mohammad Mosaddegh was democratically elected and was going to nationalize the oil field. Good for Iran and bad for oil users, so the CIA helps oust Mosaddegh and install an evil dictator. Now, if you were an Iranian would you be mad? Also, did you know that Mack Truck had a factory in Iran from the 50's till the revolution in 1979?

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very true...  you look at how the "Persians" were being basically raped by the oil companies... it would surly drive any population to revolt...


In hind site, if we (the west) had stepped in BEFORE and told the oil companies to treat this nation fairly... they would not have needed to nationalize, and we would not have felt the need to topple a democratically elected government, who though wanting to nationalize the oil industry was NOT soviet in orientation...


Wow, would history have been different.


Again, the whole world paying the price of greedy short sighted profit only motivated oil companies  shocker! ???

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