US forces are increasing their capacity in Arabian Gulf with the aim of curbing the threat of war by Iran, Captain William Reed, the air wing commander on the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier, told CNBC on August 12th.
Iran, threatening navy security since May, has raised concerns that the US may wage a war against it. However, US military commanders in the Gulf have affirmed that their presence in the Middle East aims to create security and stability in the region.
Six commercial oil tankers were damaged near the entrance to the Arabian Gulf in May and June in attacks that Washington has blamed on Tehran. On June 20th, Iran shot down a US spy drone, prompting the President Donald Trump’s administration to prepare a military strike on the country that Trump claims he called off with 10 minutes to spare.
USS Abraham Lincoln carries 100 thousand tons of aircraft and hosts a total of 44 different strike fighters as well as helicopters. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is tasked with patrolling an expanse of about 2.5 million square miles of water, including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea.
Reed who superintends 77 aircraft associated with the strike group said, “Our goal is not to go to war with Iran. Our deterrence seeks to add to stability in the region, freedom of movement, and trade.”
Recent disruption has driven oil prices upward due to vulnerability to Iranian attacks in the vital Strait of Hormuz.
The Strait represents a bottleneck off the coast of Iran through which 20% of the world’s oil is shipped and from which 20% of the world’s oil supply transits from many producers, including the region’s largest, Saudi Arabia, mostly to Asian markets.
Oil transference is considered a global concern not just an American one, as 21 million barrels of oil pass through the Strait per day, according to Reed. US President Donald Trump has urged recipients of crude should be protecting their own ships along with US efforts to secure the vital passage way, according to a Tweet on June 24th.
US forces are ready to leave for the region at any time, “We are ready to go, do that presence mission, in order to deter and not go to war with Iran,” the American commander, Reed highlighted.
Captain Walter Slaughter, the USS Abraham Lincoln’s commanding officer, spoke that it is all about deterrence and the power the strike group has in the region. He oversees 5,400 crew stationed on board, and a carrier from which 80 to 90 flights take off and land each day. “It’s 4.5 acres of US sovereign territory that I can park anywhere in the world. What goes on in the Strait of Hormuz, we are kind of the 911 force if something were to happen.”
In the case of any further Iranian hostile activity, “the carrier could reach the Strait of Hormuz in no time,” Slaughter told CNBC. noting the carrier can travel up to 30 plus knots, or approximately 35 miles per hour.