Is a U.S. war against Iran imminent?
The U.S. Navy has deployed to the Persian Gulf two aircraft carriers (the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Enterprise) with supporting vessels, as well as, reportedly, four more minesweepers and minesweeping helicopters.
Now, F. Michael Maloof reports for the Business Insider, April 9, 2012, that Russia is massing troops on Iran’s Northern border, preparing for a Western attack:
Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.
Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran. “Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.
Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.
The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.
Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.
The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.”
This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.
Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.
Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say.
“Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”
With Vladimir Putin returning to the Russian presidency, the prospect that he again would order an attack on Georgia as he did in August 2008 also has become a possibility, these informed sources say.
The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel.
Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.
“Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia,” according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.
In September, the Russian military plans to hold its annual military exercises called Kavkaz 2012. However, informed Russian sources say that preparations and deployments of military equipment and personnel already have begun in anticipation of a possible war with Iran.
These sources report that new command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using the Russian GPS system, GLONASS for targeting information.
“The air force in the South Military District is reported to have been rearmed almost 100 percent with new jets and helicopters,” according to regional expert Pavel Felgenhauer of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.
In 2008, Felgenhauer pointed out, Kavkaz 2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia in August of that year.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov already has announced that new Spetznaz, or Special Forces units, will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which are located in the North Caucasian regions.
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