The US military is reportedly considering an unprecedented move to deploy armed personnel on commercial ships transiting through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
This action is aimed at countering Iran’s persistent attempts to seize and harass civilian vessels in the region.
The Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf, has been a flashpoint in the ongoing tensions between Iran and the West, particularly over negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which collapsed in 2019.
Iran’s actions in the strait have raised concerns about maritime security and the safety of commercial shipping passing through the critical waterway.
By placing US troops on commercial ships, the hope is to dissuade Iran from engaging in further ship seizures and to safeguard civilian vessels from potential threats.
While the idea is still in the contemplation stage, such a move would mark a significant commitment of US forces in the Middle East, at a time when the Pentagon is seeking to focus its attention on challenges posed by Russia and China Notably, even during the height of the “Tanker War” in the 1980s, when the US Navy and Iran engaged in a major naval battle, the United States did not take the step of placing troops on commercial vessels.
The potential armed guard mission would involve the deployment of thousands of Marines and sailors who are currently en route to the Persian Gulf.
US Navy Mulls Armed Deployment for Energy Chokepoint
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall, a landing ship, are carrying these military personnel, who could serve as the backbone for the armed protection of commercial shipping.
The significance of this potential move lies in the fact that the Strait of Hormuz is a critical choke point through which approximately 20% of the world’s crude oil flows, making it an essential artery for global energy supplies.
Officials have not yet disclosed detailed plans regarding the potential operation, but it is evident that the US military is exploring ways to enhance security and deter further Iranian aggression in the region.
The proposed deployment of armed personnel on commercial ships reflects the seriousness with which the United States views Iran’s actions and the potential implications for regional stability and global trade.
However, implementing such a mission is not without challenges and potential risks.
Placing armed troops on commercial ships raises concerns about the potential for escalation, which could further strain US-Iran relations and regional stability.
Additionally, the move could elicit responses from Iran and other actors in the region, further complicating an already delicate situation.
Source: AP News