U.S. considers increasing military presence in Mediterranean
An AV-8B Harrier aircraft lands on an amphibious assault ship
November 21st, 2012
04:22 PM ET

U.S. considers increasing military presence in Mediterranean

By Barbara Starr

Senior U.S. military officials are considering increasing the American military presence in the Mediterranean because of what they see as growing instability in recent months, CNN has learned.

"This is post-Benghazi," one military official told CNN. "We're looking at instability in Libya, Egypt, Syria and now Israel and Gaza."

The official who has direct knowledge of the discussions declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The Pentagon is looking at a number of options, according to military officials. The easiest would be to extend deployments of Navy ships passing through the region.

The Navy just extended by at least 10 days the tour of three amphibious ships carrying more than 2,000 Marines, Harrier jets, V-22 tilt rotor aircraft and a variety of helicopters, as CNN first reported last week.

Those tours were extended as a result of the conflict in Gaza as a precautionary measure should there have been a need to evacuate Americans from Israel. A cease-fire was reached on Wednesday after a week of violence.

The Pentagon is focusing on the eastern Mediterranean, where the ships will stay, the military official told CNN.

"From there, you can get to a lot of places in a short period of time," he said. "What we are looking at is what is our presence in the region and what should it be."

The Navy also previously announced that four warships capable of providing ballistic missile defense will now be based at Rota, Spain, putting them closer to potential threats from Syria and Iran. They are the USS Ross, the USS Donald Cook, the USS Carney and the USS Porter. Four other ships are stationed off the coast of Israel as a hedge against any ballistic missile launch from Iran.

Short of being ordered into combat, the Navy is looking to beef up its presence in order to conduct humanitarian assistance missions and training exercises with other nations in the region, the sources said.

But clearly more ships and aircraft also give the military an increased capability to evacuate Americans from a hotspot or put forces on the ground to conduct security operations to protect embassies.

The developments come amid increasing concern about weapons being smuggled into Gaza. U.S. and Israeli officials say some of those weapons are coming from Libya where arms stashes have been ransacked after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

A U.S. official told CNN that the current assessment by the intelligence community is that surface to air missiles from Libya have made their way into Gaza after being smuggled through Egypt.

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. CharlieSeattle

    What Israel may well suspect is that North Korean and/or Pakistani nukes have been already smuggled into Iran, Syria and Gaza. US and Israel Intel saying that Iran's own Nuke effort is 6 months away, 1 year away or more is just a smoke screen masking the real proxy nuclear attack that may be ready now!

    The most recent 1000 Iranian rocket barrage from Gaza may only have been a test of Israel's Iron Dome ABM system. It is impressive, but will not stop a mass launch of hundreds of missiles from Iran, Syria and Gaza at the same time.Better take all three out first! Then Bulldoze Gaza into the sea.Screw the North Korean, Pakistani, Russian techs and scientists. They deserve to burn. Nuke the Russian base in Tartus, Syria too. That was the port of entry for Russian, Iranian and North Korean ships that smuggled in the nukes.

    Tartus hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance base, under a 1971 agreement with Syria, which is still staffed by Russian naval personnel. Tartus is the last Russian military base outside the former Soviet Union, and its only Mediterranean fueling spot, sparing Russia’s warships the trip back to their Black Sea bases through straits in Turkey, a NATO member. I am sure Russia has nukes stored there.

    December 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  2. johnny

    We should stop budding in to everyone's elses problems and stop invading countries in order to spread "democracy." We should stay close to home and focus on correcting the issues we have here. We are an imperfect country with issues across the board, yet we somehow we feel we are stable enough to invest in the development of less fortunate countries, invade countries under the pretext of keeping the peace, place embassies in nations across the world that are unstable, etc.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
  3. Old News of War

    Let the war settle down and keep an eye out from afar. If we go in, it should be with no doubt that we needed to. Else, we are just feeding the cycle of war. Our armed forces have the potential to be more productive in more ways than sitting on a war. Instead of taking part in a limited scope money sinks(war), government should really begin to think about investing in what's going to benefit all those boots on the ground in the long run.

    Blowing up buildings is only going to make for a few history lesson on warfare or an excuse to come up with a few more wars in the future. Given the fact that countries keep building arms, we are all just instigating mass genocide. We need to build roads and infrastructure that will facilitate the coming of the new generations not deprive the next generation of a future.

    November 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  4. Northerner

    America haters please quit sending your children to our country to learn proper bathroom etiquette. Was your hands after taking a dump and maybe then your standard of living will improve. Trade your camel in for a bicycle and start a sand-box company just please quit coming here visit Somalia instead its an islamic paradise.

    November 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
    • some guy

      Please using toilet paper is certainly not modern. In fact its unclean too. Wash your bum with water like the europeans have reintroduced after 125 years realizing american toilet paper method is filthy. Oh...im sorry poor guys in the North have only snow and no water... :). BTW the concept of bathing everyday was discovered in China and India by Early european travellers from Denmark. :) Only certain african civilizations were known to bath on a daily and ritual basis apart from the Asian countries. :)

      November 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  5. menotyou

    Israell! Hamas! Iran! Irag! Syria!
    Who cares!!
    As long as the METS win the World Series!!!!

    November 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  6. bud g

    With the U.S. economy in such turmoil we need to sit tight and stay close to home with our military. By spreding it out to all regions of the world is costing us hundred of billions just to keep peace in a region that has had no peace for thousands of years. What interest do we personally have over there? Oil. we can produce oil over here. Israel can protect themselves. What country is going to come to our aid when we fall off of the fiscal cliff and cannot pay our debt to them. We would then be compromised to do their bidding and at what cost?

    November 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  7. just wondering

    bring our troops home..... America first

    November 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • Marine Wife

      I agree! SEND OUR TROOPS HOME!!

      November 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  8. rightospeak

    My comments about the US being a puppet state of Israel vanished-censorship in full swing as I wrote before.

    November 24, 2012 at 8:36 am | Reply
  9. Jannai

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    November 24, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply
    • Northerner

      Get your facts straight towel-boy. If it wasnt for America you'd be speaking German and making sand-boxes for the Reich. If lucky.

      November 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • Northerner

      I also decided you are a sand-Nazi probably with bad aim and broken down flip-flops. Have a nice third world day.

      November 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • Bob W

      Another Muslim full of lies.... and hatred. Don't you people have enough killing each other, and star accusing the U.S. of tragedies in the Middle East. Now, are you going to tell me that what is happening in Syria is because of the U.S.? You people are so pathetic and naive...

      September 4, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
  10. andrew inetianbor

    This region atually need to put on cheek. Is because most world terrorist live and move freely in this region. This region is where they meet and organise their terror tactics. They set out from these region inflicting attack in different parts across the world. I strongly believe the urgency of the need to put the region cheek of the making and movement of arms if at all world peace will even be at sight

    November 24, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
  11. whatajokeusa

    Go to hell USA.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • Jannai

      America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
      In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
      During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
      In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
      Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

      November 24, 2012 at 5:05 am | Reply
      • Portland tony

        Oh so true! But it's much better to invade than be invaded?

        November 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Mastdon

      No thanks, you go, you already there Retard!

      November 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • Far smarter than you

      You first, sir.

      November 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  12. jamessavik

    Historically the Mediterranean has been called the "Middle Sea" because it's in the middle of everything: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Atlantic and the Red Sea are close.

    Control of the Med has been at the beating heart numerous empires dating back as far as Alexander. Failure to control the Med has broken just as many.

    As long as the Med is open to commerce and free passage, peace and prosperity will prevail. Let some nit-wit try to close the Med or the Suez Canal, expect war.

    November 22, 2012 at 6:11 am | Reply
  13. Ekram

    Well done, Uncle Sam. Hamas is done, Egypt is tamed, Syria is in turmoil...... and what is left now? Iran.....which is next in line to be destroyed for ever. This Hamas-Israeli war was all part of the game to isolate Iran and then attack and finish this chess game.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:56 am | Reply
  14. B

    I look at everything the press says and what this Administration does and it's never anything short of Amateur.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:54 am | Reply
  15. dou44

    Just what everyone wants- a foreign bully from 7 time zones away off their coasts with nukes.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:34 am | Reply
  16. dou44

    Just what everyone wants- a foreign bully from 7 time zines away off their coasts with nukes.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:33 am | Reply
  17. Tom

    Chesswithcolors needs to stay off caffeine and get more rest.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:00 am | Reply
  18. Chesswithcolors

    Ok here is the deal. this information is top secret but F it here it is

    Israel – Hamas conflict was staged by the US and Israel to be able to knock out Hamas capabilities of hurting Israel in the coming real military campaign that's is Operation Eagle Strike. This Military campaign is a joint operation between Israel and the US against Iran and its Nuclear program which is a real Wepons of Mass Distruction global threat.

    There it is watch our US military build up in the Mediterranean in the next few days.

    Say bye bye to Iran folks

    its about time if you ask me

    November 22, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
    • Nero

      It`s easy for you to say that are soldiers will be fighting on foreign land while you are sitting on your ass doing nothing to help your country.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:56 am | Reply
  19. USN Ret.

    This argument reminds me of the man who wants to cut military spending until the base a few miles from his home would shutdown and he would have no one to rent his mobile homes.
    We need a strong present in the MED and else where or not ant where. We turned our backs to Europe in the 30’s and over 75 million died in the 40’s.
    We may not like the position we are in but it’s too late to find a new world cop.
    And a vast majority of the time we do a very good job.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
    • ukjeff

      You do a good job at causing trouble cousin.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  20. Cocopuf

    The US economy has been improving over the last year with a few bumps here and there. Californification is the only state that has the worst economy, and will probably take longer to recover. The military is funded no matter what the economy is. So, quit acting like you know everything and that the economy will collapse. The problem is the national and and international debts that have to be repaid, and the only way is by tax increases.

    November 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  21. drtyijgfdfhk

    NO.

    November 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  22. lance

    U.S. needs to get its economy back in order and stop wasting cash on these 3rd world countries, fix your infrastructure and manufacturing sectors pay off your national debt. stop over population of 3rd world iimmigrants into your country this will bring your downfall.

    November 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Reply

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