Israel’s Mossad Intelligence Agency allegedly passed on “credible” information to the US of a potential Iranian attack on US troops, pro-Israeli outlet Axios reported.
This was reportedly the reason why US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, according to anonymous Israeli officials.
“Information about possible Iranian plots against the U.S. or its allies in the Gulf were raised two weeks ago in talks held at the White House between an Israeli delegation headed by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat and a U.S. team led by Bolton,” the unnamed Israeli officials told Axios White House correspondent Barak Ravid.
According to the report, Mossad presented several scenarios for what the Iranians might be planning:
“It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf,” an unnamed Israeli official said.
The entire Axios report is practically based on nothing and it also simply alleges that Iran was “up to something” rather than providing anything specific:
“The intelligence about a possible Iranian plot is not very specific at this stage, but the officials said it was clear the threat was against a U.S. target in the Gulf or U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia or the UAE.”
CNN’s Barbara Starr cited anonymous US officials who shared the same information. In a Twitter response it was reminded that John Bolton was also part of the story that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Remember the “specific incredible intelligence” that Saddam Hussein had WMDs?
Yeah, Bolton was involved in that one too… https://t.co/YP5hmC5PZf
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) May 6, 2019
On May 5th, US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the deployment of the carrier strike group in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” by Iran.
Initially it appeared that the carrier strike group’s (CSG) deployment was sudden, but a deeper look proves otherwise.
On April 8th, the USS Abraham Lincoln’s CSG arrived in Europe, after leaving their home port of Norfolk, Virginia on April 1st.
“The strike group, which includes the aircraft carrier, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, will operate in the Mediterranean Sea before progressing towards the Persian Gulf,” the statement said.
This was reportedly a standard deployment and is part of a change of homeport to San Diego, scheduled for October 31st.
“The Abraham Lincoln Strike Group has worked tremendously hard to prepare for our operations in US 6th Fleet,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, commander, Abraham Lincoln CSG. “We are poised and ready to perform our mission.”
In February, the USS Abraham Lincoln CSG carried out a rehearsal of strait transit maneuvers.
CSG 12 conducted the simulation “as part of composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX) to test the strike group’s ability to navigate safely, while also dealing with threats that could be encountered during their upcoming deployment scheduled for later this year.”
“We train so it is second nature for when we do it in the real world,” said Cmdr. Kenneth Myrick, Abraham Lincoln’s intelligence officer. “In straits there is an increased opportunity for miscalculation. They are a prime space for those who may want to take advantage of our limited maneuverability. We need to understand how to defend ourselves while in straits if we find ourselves in that situation.”
The strait transit exercise further reminds of Iran’s interactions with US Navy warships:
“Strait transits put ships in a particularly precarious position because they are navigating through narrow passageways of water, usually with only one clear path in and out. When a strike group makes this type of transit, it is in a higher protective posture than normal due to high traffic or the possibility of foreign threats or attacks. During the exercise, CSG 12 was confronted with various simulated threats, including low-buzzing aircraft, small surface contacts, mine-laying craft and submarines.”
Most recently, the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group took part in a major Italian exercise called “Mare Aperto.”
Standing #NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) participating in ?? Italian maritime exercise #MareAperto this week in the #MediterraneanSea. Exercise includes more than 40 ships, 5 subs and 30 aircraft from ????????????????? pic.twitter.com/SD72inlFCJ
— NATO MaritimeCommand (@NATO_MARCOM) May 1, 2019
On April 23rd, the USS Abraham Lincoln CSG met with the USS John C. Stennis CSG in the Mediterranean Sea for joint operations in the US 6th Fleet area of operations.
This was the first time that two carriers have operated in the Mediterranean at the same time since the summer of 2016, when the Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman CSGs were deployed to the region simultaneously.
“It’s a rare opportunity to train with two carrier strike groups together,” Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander of US 6th Fleet, said. “Dual carrier operations here in the Mediterranean showcase the inherent flexibility and scalability maritime forces provide to the joint force, while demonstrating our ironclad commitment to the stability and security of the region.”
This voyage of the USS Abraham Lincoln with a stop at Palma de Mallorca, Spain on April 15th, marked its first port call since 2012.
So, despite John Bolton’s announcement appearing as a sudden sharpening of rhetoric and actions, it was obviously planned in advance. The statements following the deployment are just the US scrambling for justification for the deployment.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters he could not elaborate on what Iran specifically did, but said they were separate from the escalation in Gaza between May 3rd and 5th.
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