America’s Mediterranean armada may not be what it seems

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USS Nitze (DDG-94), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer of U.S. Navy, is anchored offshore Dolmabahce on February 03, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkiye. [Oğuz Yeter – Anadolu Agency]

As I never tire of writing, the tiny Zionist state of Israel is less than the size of a South African game reserve, but still costs the American taxpayer billions of dollars every year as Uncle Sam’s ferocious watchdog squatting in the Middle East. However, even its war-mongering, war criminal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have thought that all of his birthdays had come at once when he was told that the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford was heading to the eastern Mediterranean as part of a growing US presence there in response to Israel’s war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

A carrier strike force including the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney as well as USS Bataan amphibious assault ship and USS Carter Hall dock landing ship is a daunting presence in the region. Such a group of naval ships is like a floating, multi-purpose military base tasked with gathering intelligence through to delivering humanitarian support right up to battle stations involving fighter jets, attack helicopters and a whole range of deadly weapons, including missiles.

Now we are told that another carrier strike group is steaming across the Atlantic to join the Gerald R Ford, led by the USS Dwight D Eisenhower. These are hardly precautionary measures and probably have more to do with the 20 secret wars that America is conducting in the region than Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians.

READ: African Union Chair ‘fully supports’ UN Chief on Palestine

It is obvious, nevertheless, that the US Navy is preparing for operations on a scale not seen since Operation Desert Shield, which marked the military build-up against Iraq from August 1990 to January 1991; and Operation Desert Storm, which began with a massive aerial bombing campaign against Iraq on 17 January 1991.

Both aircraft carriers in the US armada are nuclear-powered, and there are two associated logistics ships, two landing ships, one helicopter landing ship, one command ship, and several nuclear-powered attack submarines plus two cruisers and five destroyers. And let’s not forget Britain’s humble contribution of two Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels under the protective umbrella of the US. It doesn’t look like an armada for peacetime purposes.

This all has the feel of overkill, unless Washington is building up to something far deadlier than Israel’s brutal bombardment of civilians in Gaza

I’m no military expert, but this presents a very large and relatively slow-moving target in the Mediterranean Sea for anyone with surface-to-surface missiles, such as Iran, Syria, Russia and non-state actors like Hezbollah. In other words, this all has the feel of overkill, unless Washington is building up to something far deadlier than Israel’s brutal bombardment of civilians in Gaza as it tries to eradicate Hamas.

OPINION: Israelis should look in the mirror when accusing people of being ‘terror apologists’

With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars, and American involvement in Libya ongoing, the US has shown a preference for low profile shoe-string operations against what it considers to be rogue states. We know through US Freedom of Information Act requests that US Special Forces are fighting secret wars in partnership with African and Arab troops in Somalia, Kenya, Tunisia and Niger. The wars are top secret and relatively cheap in terms of US lives and tax dollars.

The number of African countries hosting US Special Forces has fluctuated over the years. The missions may be top secret, but we know that the elite troops are there because of blunders such as what happened in 2013 and reported at the time by Fox News. A team of Green Beret soldiers had to quit its mission in Libya after militants attacked the partner unit’s camp and stole many high-tech weapons that the US Special Forces had supplied.

READ: Ex-Pentagon Adviser: US, Israel Special Forces tried to enter Gaza but were ‘shot to pieces’

These days in Libya, the US military relies on air strikes and raids by a more secret category of special troops from Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. Their highly classified work is done without local partners on the ground. Such sensitive, risky missions that put Americans directly in harm’s way are what the programmes are supposed to provide an alternative to, as General Thomas Waldhauser, who heads US Africa Command, suggested when he testified that the programmes provide “high payoff with low risk to US forces.” A retired, four-star US General confirmed the rumours of proxy wars being fought in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Joseph Votel, who once headed both Special Operations Command and Central Command, which oversees US military efforts in the Middle East, confirmed the existence of previously unrevealed “counterterrorism” efforts in all four countries.

One has to wonder if America is preparing for a far greater involvement in the region using the cover of the mysteriously categorised “127e” US military operations. This would explain why a US president flew out on Air Force One in the middle of a war to meet Netanyahu with not a peace treaty or endgame in sight.

READ: Former Israeli army chief backs removing Netanyahu from office

The visit was billed as Joe Biden trying to commit to a delicate balancing act while giving full support to America’s closest ally in the Middle East, and all the while trying to urge the Israelis to act with enough restraint to keep the war from spreading into a broader conflagration. Many people have put their trust in Biden’s predecessors to deliver peace and justice for the Palestinians and they have always fallen far short. Honest brokers they are most definitely not. Maybe the latest presidential visit to Israel is foreshadowing something far more sinister in a region which has had a gutful of US military interference. Could the Israeli war against the Palestinians be a cover for something even more horrific than the slaughter of innocents in Gaza?

It’s all very alarming. What’s even more alarming, though, is the fact that most members of the relevant congressional committees and key State Department personnel know about as much as we do about the aims and mission of the deadly US armada. Even US media outlets are asking what its real mission is. Whatever it is, all may not be what it seems.

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Disclaimer: America’s Mediterranean armada may not be what it seems - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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