Another carrier in place to challenge Iran


A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the "increasingly hostile role" Iran is playing in Iraq - smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.

"What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and -women inside Iraq," said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

U.S. officials are also concerned by Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf as well as Iran's still growing nuclear program. New pictures of Iran's uranium enrichment plant show the country's defense minister in the background, as if deliberately mocking a recent finding by U.S. intelligence that Iran had ceased work on a nuclear weapon.

No attacks are imminent and the last thing the Pentagon wants is another war, but Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has warned Iran not to assume the U.S. military can't strike.

"I have reserve capability, in particular our Navy and our Air Force so it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability," Mullen said.

CBS list potential targets as "plants where weapons are made to the headquarters of the organization known as the Quds Force which directs operations in Iraq." I would add to that list all of Iran's combat capability including its forces that might challenge US ships and navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Straights of Hormuz. The report says that Maliki is going to confront the Iranians in a few days with the evidence of the weapons. If they do not respond appropriately, an ultimatum would likely follow.

My speculation is that the Iranians will lie to Maliki and try to drag things out while avoiding a confrontation.

Strategy Page
explains how the Iranian roadside bombs differ from the Sunni bombs.


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