US Bulks Up Forces in Persian Gulf
Move seen as a warning to Iran
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2012 12:39 PM CDT
The Amphibious Transport Dock, USS Ponce, departs Naval Station Norfolk en route to the Persian Gulf in Norfolk, Va., Friday, June 1, 2012.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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(Newser) – The US has been slowly increasing its military presence in the Persian Gulf, hoping to send messages to both Iran and Israel, the New York Times reports. "The message to Iran is, 'Don't even think about it,'" one senior defense official explains. "It" in this case means closing the Strait of Hormuz. The Navy has doubled the number of minesweepers in the region, and deployed fighter jets to take out coastal missile batteries. The US has also bolstered its presence in Kuwait.

The message to Israel, meanwhile, is that "when the president says there are other options on the table beyond negotiations, he means it," one senior official says. President Obama is trying to show support for Israel, but not so much support that it launches airstrikes against Iran and starts a war. But the intimidation message doesn't seem to be getting through to Iran: Tehran yesterday announced it was considering legislation to close the strait, and today tested a long-range missile capable of hitting Israel.