The Pentagon is pursuing strategic ways to prevent further seizures of international vessels by Iran's military, particularly in and near the vital Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf region. There's been a series of tit-for-tat tanker seizures of late between Tehran and Washington, as the US attempts crude oil sanctions enforcement against Iran.
And now the US is mulling more drastic action, with The Associated Press reporting Thursday, "The U.S. military is considering putting armed personnel on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, in what would be an unheard of action aimed at stopping Iran from seizing and harassing civilian vessels," per four American officials cited in the report. Some reports now suggest Marines are already being trained for the proposed program.
The ongoing 'tanker wars' began in the summer of 2019, and has more recently seen headlines such as the following: Quiet US Seizure Of Iranian Crude Prompted Iran's Capture Of Houston-Destined Tanker.
No details have as of yet been revealed of the potential plan to place US military personnel aboard tankers entering 'hot zones' where Iranian naval patrols are known to frequent, but it comes following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announcing that additional Marines have been sent to the Gulf region.
Austin said in late July that the USS Bataan amphibious readiness group and the 26th Marine Expeditional Unit have been deployed, which consists of about 2,500 Marines, to provide "even greater flexibility and maritime capability in the region.”
The amphibious readiness group consists of the Bataan warship and two others, the USS Mesa Verde and the USS Carter Hall. The group had already left Norfolk, Virginia earlier in July.
Weeks ago the Pentagon sent the USS Thomas Hudner and additional F-35 and F-16 fighter jets to the region, to assist A-10 attack aircraft, as tankers have come under increasing threat - including an incident in which one was fired upon.
"One official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the military had already been training some Marines in the Middle East to be on the vessels."https://t.co/3mH9aPGMaq— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) August 3, 2023
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