Advertisement
  1. Archive

U.S. strengthens forces in Persian Gulf region

Published Jan. 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has quietly shifted combat troops and warships to the Middle East after the top American commander in the region warned that he needed additional forces to deal with Iran and other potential threats, U.S. officials said.

Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, won White House approval for the deployments late last year after talks with the government in Baghdad broke down over keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, but the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear.

Officials said the deployments are not meant to suggest a buildup to war, but rather are intended as a quick-reaction and contingency force in case a military crisis erupts in the stand-off with Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

The Pentagon has stationed nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait, adding to a small contingent already there. The new units include two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit — a substantial increase in combat power after nearly a decade in which Kuwait chiefly served as a staging area for supplies and personnel heading to Iraq.

The Pentagon also has decided to keep two aircraft carriers and their strike groups in the region.

Earlier this week, the American carrier Carl Vinson joined the carrier Stennis in the Arabian Sea, giving commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carries out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint in the Persian Gulf, where one-fifth of the world's oil shipments passes.

U.S. officials are divided over how much to publicize the deployments. Regional allies tend to dislike public discussion about their cooperation with Washington. But the Pentagon wants Iran's rulers to understand that the United States still has adequate forces available in case of a crisis.

Also Thursday, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on three foreign companies that sell gasoline to Iran. The firms will be barred from obtaining U.S. export licenses or financing. Although Tehran is the world's third-largest exporter of oil, it has limited refining capacity and must import most of its gasoline.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Chief Veterinarian Mallory Offner examines a female rescue puppy at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    With 250 of the pooches ready for adoption, each potential puppy parent has a 1-in-4 shot at getting picked in today’s drawing.
  2. Hillsborough Community College solicited "non-binding letters of interest or intent” last month from developers interested in purchasing the Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center on Davis Islands. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Developers have eyed the 3.7 acre waterfront parcel for years, but recent interest has prompted the college’s trustees to finally start the conversation.
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Pasco firefighters said the blaze broke out at a home in the 3000 block of Thistledown Lane.
  4. Four, six-week old puppies rescued from inadequate breeding conditions, wait to be checked by veterinary staff at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center. Over 300 small-breed dogs were rescued from a breeder on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    To qualify for a Hillsborough County lottery, apply in person Sunday and pass a background check.
  5. Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman was behind the push for a ban on teenage vaping. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    The change makes it illegal to sell products to under-age customers and bans minors from possessing vaping paraphernalia.
  6. April Griffin
    The former Hillsborough County School Board member will compete against longtime agency employee Nancy Millan for the Constitutional office. The deadline for qualifying is June 12, 2020.
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The first happened at about 4:30 p.m. in North Ybor and left one man wounded. At 5 p.m., a man was fatally shot in Sulphur Springs.
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Stephone Johnson, 27, faces as misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
  9. These are four of the puppies rescued from a puppy mill in Valrico as they wait to be checked by veterinary staff at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center. More than 300 small-breed dogs were rescued in September and will soon be put up for adoption. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    More than 300 dogs were rescued in mid-September from terrible conditions inside a Valrico puppy mill. They will be put up for adoption in a few weeks.
  10. When Hurricane Michael made landfall  in October 2018, the eye of the storm was 300 miles away from downtown Tampa. Yet Bayshore Boulevard along the city's waterfront was still flooded by a swollen and violent Hillsborough Bay. JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Researchers have spent two years identifying Hillsborough’s weaknesses in the face of sea-level rise. Now it’s up to county officials to do something about it.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement