Summary: The rumors about a US armada sailing to the Gulf continue to rattle around the Internet, despite having almost no supporting evidence. This post describes UPI’s contribution to the story.
For now I will stay with my original view: these rumors are a tower of guesses built on a slight foundation. Although they may prove to be true, so far they demonstrate only how little fact is required to kindle a firestorm on the Internet, a testimony to the gullibility of even well-educated and informed people (i.e., those who circulate these stories as facts, not speculation). This the fourth in my series about the rumors; links to the other posts appear at the end.
These rumors have appeared in a mainstream media source: “Analysis: Is war in the (Gulf) air?“, Claude Salhani, UPI, 11 August 2008 — Salhani is a Contributing Editor of UPI and also editor of the Middle East Times, which is the only newspaper that has published this story, so far as I can see. Update: and now The Washington Times.
This is validation, of a weak sort, to these rumors. Note the UP story is headlined “analysis” not news, and no specific sources are cited. It added no details to the rumors, and contradicts both the data from Stratfor and the US official denial (see my 13 August post).
Here is the opening of the article:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) — No sooner had Operation Brimstone ended — a mega joint U.S., British and French naval exercise held in the Atlantic Ocean where the allies practiced enforcing an eventual blockade on Iran — when, according to numerous reports, the armada set sail for the Gulf waters — and a potential showdown with Iran.
… Leading the joint naval task force is the nuclear-powered carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its Carrier Strike Group Two; besides its 80-plus combat planes the Roosevelt normally transports, it is carrying an additional load of French Naval Rafale fighter jets from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, currently in dry dock.
Also reported heading toward Iran is another nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan and its Carrier Strike Group Seven; the USS Iwo Jima, the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and a number of French warships, including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste.
Once on site, the joint naval force in the Persian Gulf region will be joining two other U.S. naval battle groups already in position: the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Peleliu; the Lincoln with its carrier strike group and the latter with an expeditionary strike group.
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Other posts about this rumor
- More rumors of war: our naval armada has sailed to Iran!, 9 August 2008 — Tracing the origin of these rumors.
- Update on the rumored armada sailing to Iran, 13 August 2008 — With updates from Stratfor and Debkafile.
- A US naval armada is en route to blockade Iran and start WWIII (the story gets better every day), 14 August 2008 — More details from one of the bloggers who shot this story into cyberspace, and an official US denial.
- Stop the presses: no naval armada has sailed to blockade Iran!, 20 August 2008 — Putting this rumor to bed.
My posts about a strike at Iran by the US
- 4GW at work in a community near you (19 October 2007) — Propaganda warming us up for war with Iran.
- War with Iran (9 November 2007) — Why Iran is not necessarily our enemy.
- Is Iran dangerous, or a paper tiger? (13 November 2007)
- The new NIE, another small step in the Decline of the State (10 December 2007)
- Will we bomb Iran, now that Admiral Fallon is gone? (17 March 2008)
- More post-Fallon overheating: “6 signs the US may be headed for war in Iran” (18 March 2008)
- A militant America, ready for war with Iran (6 May 2008)
- Another step towards war with Iran? (7 May 2008) — About Andrew Cockburn’s article in Counterpunch.
- “War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think” (13 May 2008) — About Philip Giraldi’s 9 May story in The American Conservative (see below).
- The most expensive psy-war campaign – ever! (13 July 2008)
- ISIS: “Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program? Probably Not.”, 8 August 2008
Here is the full archive of my posts about a possible strike at Iran by Israel or the US.