NATO, Russian naval-air buildup in E. Mediterranean, French units to Gulf
NATO, which proclaims non-involvement in the Syrian conflict, and Russia, which vows to block foreign military action against the Assad regime, are both moving large naval forces into the eastern Mediterranean opposite Syrian shores.
A flotilla of at least 11 Russian warships has been detached from Black Sea, North Sea and Baltic fleet bases and is on its way to the Syrian coast for a maneuver; NATO has consigned its rapid response Maritime Group 2 to the same stretch of sea - where also five Israeli warships are deployed. The Western alliance has also increased surveillance flights over the Mediterranean from the Geilenkirchen air base in Germany.
This rush of military movements is explained officially by the big air-and-sea exercise launched by Syria Sunday, July 8, to simulate outside aggression. It follows Irans practice of continuous military drills for repelling mock Western or Israel attacks.
The exercise began with a barrage of dozens of surface-to-sea missiles simulating naval and shore defense against approaching enemy craft and landing forces.
At about the same time, Iran embarked on a big air-cum-missile defense exercise in the south to fight off potential aggression from the direction of the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden, where US air force units are clustered.
debkafiles military sources report that this is the first simultaneous, coordinated Syrian-Iranian military maneuver for drilling action against an advancing enemy. It is synchronized from a joint headquarters established for the purpose in Damascus.
While these coordinated maneuvers are being presented as designed to fend off foreign intervention in the Syrian conflict, our sources report that they are in fact preparing for a potential US attack on Irans nuclear program, which is now expected in Gulf and European military quarters to take place in October, three months hence.
High-ranking Saudi princes associated with their national military and intelligence agencies frankly confided to Arab and Western officials on recent visits to Riyadh that the US and, possibly Israel too, are on the verge of war on Iran. It is already decided, they say. The only question still open is the date, which could be before or after the US presidential election on November 6.
In line with this prediction, France is reported in Paris to be massing a large naval force in the United Arab Emirates. The French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle-R91 is expected to dock soon at the French naval base in Port Zayid on Abu Dhabis northeastern coast opposite the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The French are also boosting their air units at Al Dhafra Air Base, stationing them alongside a large American air force presence.
98th Medical Battalion taking positions for combat!