Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Gulf: U.S. Navy opened fire on Indian fishermen

An American ship opened fire Monday on a small motor boat which seemed to threaten the coast of the emirate of Dubai, the Gulf, the Pentagon said. The USNS Rappahannock tanker opened fire with heavy machine guns against the civilian vessel "after she had not responded to warnings and then it was rapidly closing" the American ship, said the U.S. 5th Fleet. The Emirati authorities said Monday night that the boat was that of Indian fishermen.

The 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, says a person was killed and three others wounded. The incident occurred off the coast of Jebel Ali, a city of the emirate of Dubai with an EPZ. The tanker was fired after the boat against the usual warnings, including warning shots, according to a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity, who said that, since 2000 and the attack against the USS Cole off Yemen, the U.S. Navy was "very careful" to potential threats posed by small boats. An investigation was instituted, in the 5th Fleet.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy will accelerate the deployment of an aircraft carrier and its escort the Middle East to deal with tensions in the region, including Iran and Syria, said Monday the spokesman Pentagon, George Little. "The Secretary (of Defense Leon Panetta) approved late last week the request of Central Command to expedite four-month deployment of the USS John Stennis," said Mr. Little told reporters. CENTCOM is the U.S. command responsible for Middle East, stretching from the Red Sea to the Gulf and the western Indian Ocean.

Hormuz, the "red line"

The Pentagon policy is to constantly maintain an annual average of 1.7 aircraft carriers in the region dependent Centcom, 11 on the American inventory. Since early 2012, two aircraft carriers have always been in the area, a sign of tensions in the region, the accelerated deployment of the John Stennis only confirms. The John Stennis joined her homeport of Bremerton (Washington State, north-west) only in March, after eight months of deployment. Earlier this year, Iran had threatened to attack U.S. military ships repasseraient the Strait of Hormuz after the carrier had crossed the Gulf.

Several ships, including aircraft carriers, have since returned to the Gulf without Tehran react, but tensions remain high and the U.S. have significantly strengthened their military capabilities in the region, particularly in the fight against mines . The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic bottleneck through which 40% of world oil exports by sea. Leon Panetta warned that its blockade would be a "red line" for the United States.

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