September 21st, 2012
12:00 AM ET

Massive minesweeping exercise begins off Bahrain

By Chis Lawrence

More than three dozen nations have converged on the seas around Bahrain for a massive military minesweeping exercise.

The at-sea maneuvers will involve a series of techniques and involve surface ships, aircraft, and underwater "explosive ordnance disposal" diving teams during the nearly two weeks of International Mine Countermeasure Exercise.

Remote piloted submersibles, known as unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUVs, will get their most sustained test yet in combination with regular forces.

The U.S. military says these exercises are strictly "defensive," but the show of force in light of Iran's threats to mine the Strait of Hormuz is hard to ignore.

In a typical week, officials say more than 500 ships will sail through the Strait, carrying everything from oil to natural gas.

The United States has been promoting the fact that more than 30 nations are participating in the exercises.

But CNN has learned that so far, two thirds of those nations do not want to have their participation made public. And only half a dozen or so will send actual ships to the exercise.

The situation suggests that in any real minesweeping scenario, or conflict with Iran, the U.S. military would bear the brunt of the fight.

The United States has a lot of naval power in the region. But the American military is careful not to unnecessarily provoke Iran, especially with tensions so high after toughened economic sanctions and much talk in the U.S. and Israel about whether Iran's progress in developing nuclear capabilities will warrant military action to stop it.

"Any action can instantly trigger a disproportionate reaction, and we have to be aware of that," Vice Adm. Ted Carter told CNN. The U.S. military is trying to strike a balance between protecting the free transit of the waterway, while avoiding an inadvertent conflict with Iran.

In an indication of how sensitive the waterway has become, some U.S. Navy ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz are equipping their guns with cameras.

The gargantuan aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, on its last cruise, has made eight trips through the Strait on its current deployment. Crew members showed us where they strap small cameras to each gun when nearing certain ports or passing by certain areas in the Strait.

Vice Adm. Ted Carter told CNN, "If anything were to happen, we want to have video evidence of it as much as we can. So that when we say 'This is what happened,' the video shows we mean what we say, and that we're telling the truth about what went on."

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Jo

    Well a Nuclear armed Iran would make for the most dangerous situation that anyone could even dream of. Iran is known for supplying terrorists in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya. They get the bomb. they will send it directly to Israel. They might even supply the terrorists with the bomb as so not to implicate themselves. 28 years in Special Forces and I say we have to stop them now. they don't even care about the reprisals it will bring.

    September 27, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  2. BCanales

    This is a great demonstration and unity of force

    September 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  3. krm1007 ©™

    Few days back, there was an interesting article on Pakistan "The bubble of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has burst in our faces". It made me to do more research on the subject and on grave political conditions in Pakistan, and possibility of another military coup. We here in the United States, continue to monitor the political and cultural turmoil in Pakistan and are very concerned with the continued state of deterioration, and it's nuclear stockpile. At this point, we restate our view that Islamic Republic of Pakistan is in a precarious situation and that a geo-political implosion is imminent (if not already in process) and the need of the hour. As you will recall, along the Afghan/Pak borders, Pakistan has an unmanageable large fundamentalist Taliban population mired in poverty and we are spinning our wheels trying to prop it up. Additionally, it is also too big of a geographical units of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for Pakistani weak government to govern. In 2001 the Pakistani military entered the FATA for the first time in history, and returned home with heavy casualties. We Americans now need to focus on our own people and cannot afford to handout more financial and technological aid to Pakistan. We believe that this de-fragmentation of Pakistan along 13 FATA agencies (see the list below) will unleash boundless opportunities and uber economic demand that will be beneficial to US and our allies in extracting rare earth minerals along Afghan/Pak borders, and help pull ourselves out of current recessionary trends. Knowing presence of hard core islamic fundamentalists, war lords, drug cartels, and Russians and Chinese involvement, in the region, We pray for the events to unfold peacefully and in a harmonious manner for the poverty stricken people of Pakistan and its global future economic super power neighbors China and India. For the sake of long lasting peace and to break the cycle of violence in Pakistan, a potential solution for out of control militancy in Pakistan is to break down the Pakistan along the FATA agencies, like creation of Bangladesh in 1972:

    Bajaur Agency
    Mohmand Agency
    Khyber Agency
    Frontier Region Peshawar
    Frontier Region Kohat
    Orakzai Agency
    Kurram Agency
    Frontier Region Bannu
    North Waziristan Agency
    Frontier Region Lakki Marwat
    Frontier Region Tank
    South Waziristan Agency
    Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan

    My prayer and good wishes are with militancy infested Islamic Republic of Pakistan!!!!!

    September 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  4. Pnm9pnm

    We the people of the USA.pnm.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  5. Pnm9pnm

    I have f u up be4 u get hear.pnm.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  6. Pnm9pnm

    No tunles from no hidden guns no ammoe not booby traped ask me no nothing an eloomanoty as fake gards bull 2 u u still lost.pnm.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  7. ear plugs for all

    the silence of ________ is deafening ?

    September 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  8. Davidian

    The USA will attack Iran. It will not be a war about stopping the Iranian nuclear program. That is a lie. There will be a false flag event that is always the case before these wars. Iran has made deals with both China, India, and Russia to supply them with Oil for gold. America will be trying to protect the petrodollar. In the early 1970's the USA signed agreements with the Middle East Oil producing countries that stated they would protect the Middle East's oil with their weapons if the Middle East Countries would only trade in the American Dollar. America is in massive debt and their economy is collapsing due to the debt that is so large they can never repay it. Other countries are tired of the bully that is the USA and has stopped buying its bonds. In an attempt to save Western society Nato will defend the US dollar by attacking Iran to force Opec back into subservience. However, China and Russia have stated that if the USA attacks Iran there will be WW3. If Nato wins WW3 the one world government, one world currency, one world army, one world law will be forced into place. Endgame, the enslavement of all mankind.

    September 22, 2012 at 3:58 am | Reply
  9. uiuhgfghkhgfghjg

    dictator here dictator there dictator dictator everywhere

    September 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • Snoot

      We only back the "best".

      September 22, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  10. The Hindu Dybbuk

    The one most successful aspect of recent American foreign policy has been the conquest of India without firing a bullet. That is the beauty of capitalism used as a Trojan Horse! Economic victory! Give them a taste of steak and they will never settle for hamburgers again. USA now owns India Inc. not only economically but also militarily as economic subjugation ultimately leads to military domination. The recent win for US multinationals has been pressuring the Indian Govt to open up majority ownership of domestic companies by foreign investors. US will now be virtually able to control the government policies in India via remote control in Wash D.C.

    The take away is that US needs to find a similar mechanism Middle East/North Africa/South Asia to control events without having to depend on military dictatorships to do the biding. Economic subjugation appears to be the way out but what may be applicable to Hindus may not work in case of Muslims. That poses the dilemma that we are struggling with. Israel may have to be the sacrificial goat to make this happen, I am afraid.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • str8vision

      As much as I would "like" to find fault in your statement and opinions I simply can not. I believe you are correct.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • Peter Trussle

      Not very different than what the British did in 1800s aka British East India Company.

      September 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  11. 28Mamerican

    Be safe, and good work training the world to handle loose cannons with ease.

    Thanks for serving.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  12. MileHighSlade

    Ready, Aim, Shoot. The camera, not earth scorcher.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  13. str8vision

    I read about this multi-national military exercise last week, you guys are getting s l o w in reporting. Israel is on the verge of attacking Iran and may do so before the American elections for political/strategic reasons. The U.S. will be less likely to help them after the elections and the Israelis know this. When attacked Iran will, as stated, mine the Strait of Hormuz in an attempt to stop oil shipments and pressure the world's governments to intervene. This military "exercise" is meant to intimidate the Iranians with a show of force indicating the world won't tolerate or allow the strait to be shut down. The 3 U.S. carrier groups involved contain 4 times the air power of the entire Iranian air force. For those paying attention, there are 2 other carrier groups positioned close enough to respond within days in addition to the air power already located at various bases in the region. The U.S. doesn't want a conflict as it isn't in their best interests but may not have much of a choice since U.N. diplomacy has failed to curtail the Iranian nuclear program. The ball is in the Israeli's court........

    September 21, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • some guy

      Maybe its part of a grater plan to stage a launching pad for the Invasion of Iran. Like a build up of sorts. tactically maybe the US carriers will allow for the Israeli air force jets a safe heaven to land/ bail from aircraft after the long flight to bomb Iran's Nuclear facility. The ships may also be listening stations for Signal Intelligence. But realistically, I feel that the US Navy is just doing what it was originally tasked to do that is to protect the strait of Hormuz as militaries tend to work really slowly and deliberately.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Can you please answer two pretty simple questions?

      First, WHY would Israel be interested to attack PEACEFUL Iran? What kind of benefits will Israel gain from such attack?

      Second, WHY would Iran respond to Israeli attack by mining the Strait of Hormuz? Will it somehow STOP Israeli attack in Iran?

      September 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
      • str8vision

        Peaceful Iran funds and arms militant organizations that carry out attacks on Israeli civilians and it's leaders repeatedly call out for the destruction of Israel and death of its citizens. Violent actions and threatening rhetoric has real-world consequences and in this case the world has decided it doesn't want or trust Iran to have nuclear technology. Personally, I don't like or dislike Israel, but if I were in their shoes I certainly wouldn't want Iran to acquire nuclear technology. Since the middle-east has continuously fought over the Israel/Palestinian issue with the endless fighting spilling over onto U.S. shores in the way of terrorist attacks, and since there is never going to be a diplomatic end to such perhaps it is time for the parties involved to seek a final military solution/resolution.

        September 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • str8vision

        As for threatning to mine the Strait of Hormuz in respoce to an Israeli attack, Iran believes doing so would somehow pressure the oil consuming world to help prevent such an attack. That's my best guess.

        September 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
      • Jo

        Our carrier forces that are over there right now could handle anything that Iran has to give, including them trying to mine the straight of Hormuz. There is enough airpower on those ship's (4 times as much as Irans waining fleet of jets) to turn Iran to glass

        September 27, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  14. Cheese Wonton

    Some old tankers that are ready to be sent to India for scrapping could be purchased for very little money and filled with styrofoam. You could blow lots of holes in such a ship and not sink it. Make these your economy minesweepers. Get the biggest surplus super tankers you can find and run them through the Straits a few times until you have detonated the mines in a clear channel though which shipping can be safely escorted.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:32 am | Reply
  15. Mark Kuck

    Considering the capabilities of the US military, it should be the Iranians who are fearful of a "disproportionate response."

    September 21, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • str8vision

      True, and very much so. The Iranians need to swallow their pride and think about self preservarion.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
      • some guy

        Thats exactly the kind of thinking Gen. Westmoreland had for Vietnam. 'Oh poor short little paddy farmers'. Iran can do a LOT of Damage before it goes down.

        September 21, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • str8vision

        I'm retired from the D.O.D and served/worked in all three branches of our military during my career. Iran is but a step above what Iraq's military capabilities were before the U.S. decimated them using but a fraction of it's conventional military assets. While we took our sweet time (way to long in my opinion), we suffered practically zero casualties. the Iraqis, those foolish enough to stand and fight (elite republican guard), suffered absolutely horrific losses. The U.S. military didn't even deploy it's most advanced weapons systems during the conflict a fact that baffles me to this day. The American people are sick of war especially when fought on false pretenses as was the last Iraq war, but they are also fed up with the continuing violence/threats brought about by radical Islamic fanaticism. I believe the Iranian leadership has failed to take America's mood and tolerance level into consideration and will act "unwisely". In a true military conflict Iran would present little more of a technical challenge than did Iraq. The only way Iran could even survive a short, limited confrontation is if for political reasons the President constrained the actions of the U.S. military similar to the disaster that was Vietnam. Judging by the last three military conflicts the U.S. has engaged in, I don't see political interference/restraint as a problem although a conflict with Iran will no doubt be short and limited to achieving specific objectives. A mistake in my opinion. Should military action be required, I believe the President should give our military the "green light" to deploy its best conventional weapons systems/ordnance and order them to proceed with whatever level of force is necessary to "quickly" and resoundingly remove Iran's military capabilities. The results would be swift and devastating. No occupation, no rebuilding, no policing, just destroy their military assets.....done. If "unrestrained" A few weeks at best and that's if we took our sweet time doing so.

        September 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • wyl5326

      agreed with observations and Iran would received massive retaliation should it mistake to draw the first blood !

      September 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  16. Looterman

    Envy, hatred, confusion, animosity, dissension, division, lies, hypocrisy, truce breaking, subterfuge, destruction, rape and murder in the name of a God I do not recognize. And this is a religion of peace. (That last remark wasn't a question. Think about it.) The Arab spring runs afoul. It's headwater was already polluted by those inspired to fanaticism by their crazed mullahs before the spring ever began. Now those same "followers" want to force the rest of the world to drink. How many martyrs standing for truth, liberty and justice will America seek to nourish in a theologically oppressed world? None. You can't nourish men who approve of beating and raping their own women. They want nothing to do with truth or justice and we all understand why. You can't sustain fanatics who are bent on world domination with truth, justice and liberty because they already "believe" world domination is their birthright. Truth, liberty and justice has no place in their collective minds. Sorry. It's just the way it is. So, we put cameras on our guns because we think we can sway the minds of the American public by enticing them to believe we are "doing the right thing" all the while we simultaneously attempt to seek a brighter opinion of ourselves on Al-Jazeera in the Arab world. Truth be known, the Arabs have their hands full with their own problems. This is a fact we will never fully realize unless we pull out of Hormuz and stand down. The Arabs will take care of Tehran. It's in their blood.
    We'll live to fight another day, because it's in ours.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  17. Serge Crespy

    A U.S. (only) "Missile Shield", in the West Bank (Palestine); Jerusalem the capital of Israel; also, Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine .... A capital within a capital, as the Vatican.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  18. GeorgeBushsr

    Anybody thinking this possible war is a legal action is clearly retarded, prepare for the provocation.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply
    • Laidino Alencar

      Gee, I wonder what we would label Iran if they massed a fleet 25 miles off our shore, I think provocative might be too weak a term.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
      • Sam Crow

        Gee, maybe yyou are not from here, so I will educate you. We, AMERICANS, do not fight wars on our land. THAT IS WHY WE ARE OVER is a pretty simple idea to wrap your head around. Can you get that through your skull? I know its hard, just try

        September 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
      • icanread62

        Since there hasn't been any known threat to shipping in the Coastal US, and since there isn't 25-30 independent nations wanting to take part in an action off the US shores to protect international shipping, then there is no equivalency. Therefore, your point is rediculous and ignorant.

        September 21, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • Duc749

        OH SNAP! Take that Sam Crow! I bet you don't even own a motorcycle...

        September 21, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • Laidino Alencar

        Thank both for making my points, of unsolicited insults for no reason. I think most can make an honest disagreement without getting into insults. As a 26 year veteran, including 6 yrs in the middle east including Iraq, Saudi, Kuwait, and Qatar, i can admit to not knowing all. My only point,admittedly in my ignorance, is why Iran is such an enemy when, since Saddam got run out of "their" country, they have not attacked nor killed one US citizen. Yes they talk a lot, as we all do, they threaten, but last I checked, our friend Pakistan has troops that have killed Americans, hid Bin Laden for 8 years, and is a popular hangout for terrorists. I wonder why Iran is a terrorist nation, but Pakistan is not. Of course I am ignorant of the greater truths

        September 21, 2012 at 10:35 am |
      • wyl5326

        So you don't get to prepare when they arrogantly tried to provoked us with threat of closing the strait and just let them do it later like how they occupied US Embassy then ? You are like Barack who just burry his head in the sand like an ostrich !

        September 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • The Realist

      There's little doubt that if their minions in Congress can't force Obama into another war, Israel will attempt to create either a provocation or a "false flag" attack on American forces.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
      • Portland tony

        It's not just about Israel. The Iranian government is Shi'a whereas the Saudis and surrounding majority are predominantly Sunnis. We turned Iraq into a Shi'a dominant country, so sectarian wise we have created an Iraqi-Iranian alliance. With Syria still in doubt, now Shi'a being threatened by
        Sunni tribes backed by the Saudis . So any conflict in the middle east is not just about Israeli-Iranian interests, everyone over there has a stick in the
        fire. A nuclear armed Iran would definitely change the middle east into a mess. ie the Saudis would buy the bomb and probably give it to friendly Sunni's ...So everybody gonna get the bomb?

        September 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • HeilOmbama

      Clearly the USA has 47% retarted population !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 21, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
      • icanread62

        Clearly, you are a troll of the lowest order.

        September 21, 2012 at 10:18 am |
      • Rags

        True, but that's republicans for you.

        September 21, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  19. OffTheWorldPolitics

    30 countries supporting but only 6 sending ships. So what are the other 24 doing exactly?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • Andy in Oz

      I would assume some of the others would be sending EOD dive teams etc to participate since it is a minesweeping exercise.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
    • HeilOmbama

      Cheerleaders !

      September 21, 2012 at 9:31 am | Reply
    • wyl5326

      others don't have warships like us ! do you want to ask for kayaks from these poor countries ? be realistic !

      September 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
      • OffTheWorldPolitics

        I did not ask if they were sending ships. I asked what they were sending.

        September 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  20. Bob Balderston

    funny how in this p.c. correct world how "we" have to put cameras on our guns, just in case, we have to prove the iranian government is going to accept anything we do or say is valid, unless it's a video poking fun of some dude named muhammad

    September 21, 2012 at 6:31 am | Reply
    • OffTheWorldPolitics

      the U.S. apparently no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. Everyone is still on about how there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Funny how CNN reports that Syria and Iran have them though. Reminds me of that game with the three cups and the little ball. Shuffle the cups around and guess which one has the ball under it.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:38 am | Reply
  21. Jannai

    CNN is a true entertainment network. "More than three dozen nations" ... ha ha ha .. there is no news about this drill in Al Jazeera .... Ops .. they are busy burning American flags .... ha ha ha ...

    September 21, 2012 at 2:58 am | Reply
    • Duramax

      Funny, huh? Burning American flags... I'm an American and you can burn it all you want because at the end of the day it is just a piece of cloth, but as of today's date we are the only country to burn down two entire cities with one bomb each. You muslims keep it up, keep attacking our cities and people and we'll give the muslim world all the nuclear power they want.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
      • Rob Haas

        It'll be the Isrealis doing the nuking if it comes to that this time.

        September 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
      • Karim

        Which of your cities have the Muslims attack exactly?

        September 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
      • Sask Pic

        Karim – which cities? New York, London.....

        September 21, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  22. Jannai

    America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.

    In 1953, America overthrow Iran's democratic government and installed a brutal dictator Shah of Iran. America helped Shah to established secret police and killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians.

    During Iran-Iraq war, America helped Saddam Hussein and killed one million Iranians. America is the only country that shot down Iran's civilian air plain and killed all 290 passengers.

    In 2003, America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and displaced 4,000,000+ Iraqi people.
    Now, America is a failed country with huge debt. Its debt will be 24 trillion by 2015.

    Every other day a city in America is declaring bankruptcy. ha ha ha ha ha ha

    September 21, 2012 at 2:29 am | Reply
    • Let It Be

      I don't think Saddam would agree that we helped him when he was beheaded at the end of a noose. To help cut our debt we should pull all aid to foreign countries and then see how much all of these folks hate us. Let them rebuild their own cities and infrastructures. Let them figure out a way to feed all of their own people and get medication to those in need. Yeah, we are a bunch of hard a_ _ es aren't we.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:21 am | Reply
    • Me

      The US never killed anywhere near 1,000,000 innocent people. Oh and get a real name will you...

      September 21, 2012 at 6:35 am | Reply
    • John Smith

      Jannai, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha 1,000,000+ ha ha ha ha ..........................goofball you are.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:58 am | Reply
    • Fearless Freep

      If you stop porking your camel,
      he will stop biting you.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
      • Bubba

        you know a lot about porking camels dont you...

        September 21, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Duramax

      Give us a few weeks or months... We aren't finished invading. It's nice to be the big dog. No one will mess with us when it comes to military might. You are all in a position to do nothing. Absolutely nothing but have little tiny men commit suicide by blowing themselves up. There hasn't been a muslim country win a single war or even minor conflict in a few hundred years.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply
      • TiredOfPaying

        The rest of the world needs to understand this: We Americans actually TRY to avoid undue destruction! We will go after our enemies no matter where they are, but when we do we look to only hit our enemies. Now, please think about that for a minute. You're complaining about the damage we do when we invade? Think what it would be like if we didn't care. The next country we hit, I vote that we simply level the place and leave it destroyed. No nation building, no foreign aid, no food or relief supplies. Just a bunch of blasted craters.

        Please keep this in mind when you hide our enemies amonst you. Please keep this in mind when Islam chants 'Death to America' You need to get your act in order before we decide that we can't afford to be selective in our targeting. Turn over all your extremists now, or you'll die alongside them.

        September 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • wyl5326

      while you have correct facts, you don't consider if there was justification on each case. It is not lumping the numbers of countries attacked by US, we should have wiped you out after you occupied the Embassy and ended your civilization then !

      September 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • wyl5326

      Is that why you want Barack to win in November ?

      September 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply

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