Some "Curious" US And French Military Deployments

Tyler Durden's picture

Regular readers are aware that periodically, usually weekly, Zero Hedge presents critical naval updates demonstrating the positioning of key US maritime assets, primarily strategic aircraft carriers. The location of these indicates far more what US foreign policy is focused on at any moment, than propaganda distributed for general consumption via the coopted media. Today, however, instead of focusing on aircraft carriers, using Stratfor analysis, we present several broad "curious" US and French military developments.

What the ultimate purpose of these movements is for now unclear - they may be perfectly normal deployments or they may be a precursor to something more. Remember: we know that both CVN-74 (which is currently just briefly caught up in that whole Senkaku Snafu between Japan and China) Stennis and Marine force LHA-1 Peleliu are en route to Iran, where following last week's modestly paliative Netanyahu comments, the military strategists believe the tide has turned and there will be no war with Iran in the immediate future. Ironically, following a spike in war chatter in the early summer, we said that precisely because of that there will be no conflict imminently as the Israeli military will never telegraph what it plans on doing in advance.

And, as always when dealing with military data originating from "sources", reader beware. Ultimately, even if untrue, the information will provide hints about whose agenda it is to foment military tensions.

Analysis, via Stratfor

According to a worldwide network of aircraft spotters and trackers, at least a dozen MC-130H, HC-130N, HC-130P and AC-130U military transport planes and gunships crossed the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 13 heading eastbound. These aircraft are typically used for a variety of special tasks, including in close cooperation with special operations forces. The last reported stop for the aircraft was Souda Bay, Crete. It is unclear whether the aircraft have left Crete, but we are working on tracking them down.

A week and a half later, on Sept. 24, the same network of aircraft spotters noted 12 U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets arriving in two waves at Moron air base in Spain. It is not known where the squadron is heading, though it could be en route to Afghanistan to reinforce elements there. The Harrier squadron that suffered heavy losses in the Sept. 14 attack on Camp Bastion has already been replaced by another Harrier unit, so it is unlikely that the squadron's deployment is directly linked to that event. It is also possible that the F/A-18s are heading to the Gulf Cooperation Council region. A number of air superiority squadrons, including an F-22 Raptor squadron, have already deployed to the region. If that is the case, the squadron is intended simply as reinforcements or replacements for assets currently deployed there.

Also on Sept. 24, The New York Times published an article stating that Iraq and the United States were negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of U.S. soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to U.S. Gen. Robert Caslen, a unit of Army special operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and to help with intelligence. It is possible that at least some of the MC-130 aircraft previously mentioned were delivering these special operations troops to Iraq.

Another report on Sept. 24, this one by the Le Figaro French-language newspaper, said some 100 French special operations troops had been deployed in the sub-Saharan region to counteract militants in northern Mali. Le Figaro also reported that maritime patrol aircraft that can be used to collect intelligence will be deployed to the region and that commandos of the French navy will reinforce the French special operations troops.

Finally, Italian journalist Guido Olimpio reported in September that U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles are currently tracking militants in Cyrenaica, the historical name for eastern Libya. He also said "reliable sources" had confirmed that U.S. special operations forces were planning to carry out intelligence operations that could be in preparation for surgical strikes in North Africa, including in Libya and in Mali.

All these deployments could be previously scheduled movements for training or part of ongoing operations. They also do not necessarily mean any one mission is imminent. The United States and France could simply be positioning military assets in a region that is rife with conflict and that may eventually require rapid military intervention or action.

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surf0766's picture

"French Military Deployments"  hahahahaha

debtor of last resort's picture

In a few years you will be groing beans on carrier decks.

markmotive's picture

It's about Anglo-American oil domination. It always has been and always will be.

It's the simple thread through modern history that makes sense of everything.

Cycle's picture

You must be referring to the USUK alliance.

max2205's picture

What an old old POS. the USAF should be ashamed

mjcOH1's picture

Looks to me like we have a target and it's not Iran.   

Going to be a whole bunch of whoop-ass though.

Manthong's picture

Oops my bad.. I was trying to see how old that aircraft she was in was and it turns out she is/was a helicopter door gunner. Should’ve recalled that the miniguns on an AC 130 are remote fired and computerized.

And geez, if that’s too old or raggy for somebody.. their range of options are way too narrow.

Ying-Yang's picture

Thanks Tyler, I appreciate the positioning updates as they portend future actions. I have been reading up on Mali where there is a fight going on among several factions. In the South the temporary government is asking for help from the US, France and the UN. They say the rebels in the North are better armed with weapons from Libya. Seems to me the French exploratory forces are doing recon to see what is really happening.

It looks like a mess with the possibility of another Arab Spring moment developing. Keep putting out the intel it is hard to come by otherwise.

jeff montanye's picture

this isn't about oil.  as long as opec has oil they will sell it to those with the money to buy it.  it is about zionism.  was the iraq war begun by oil companies? no it was begun by these guys:

the oil story is cover for the real motives which are less popular and, seemingly, practical.

the british had lots of "whoopass" for much of the nineteenth century.  ultimately it weakened, corrupted and impoverished them.  same here.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

She's a hottie. Nice blonde too!

cpzimmon's picture

Thats a very nice shit...nice eyes.



Keyser's picture

If that were the case the US would have stayed in Iraq and would be sheperding the oil industry, sending crude to the US. The FACT is, regardless of all the hype, is that the US only receives 2.5m barrels of oil per day from Saudi. The balance of US supplies come from Canada, Venezuela and domestic production. The US could cut off all crude receipts from the ME without blinking an eye. Your response is what you get when you believe everything spouted by some geo-political pundit instead of doing a bit of research. Just Sayin'. 


Sabibaby's picture

Did you know gas prices affect the US economy?

Don't tell people there's so much cheap gas available, it doesn't matter. Start using your brain and figure out a way to make it cost less. Regardless of "hype" it's too damn expensive to be sustained much longer.

RSBriggs's picture

You are correct.  And the reason that oil (and gas) prices spike is actually due to the oil companies/refiners themselves (and speculators).  Because they can.  Absolutely breathtaking record breaking profits for the oil/gas companies over the last couple of years.

Hedge Fund of One's picture

... Agree. Canada and Mexico have been top exporters of petroleum products to U.S. by far for years.

Freddie's picture

Libturd Matt Damon's new anti-fracking movie financed by Arab oil exporter.  Most of th elibe and some Neocon plus enviro groups/think tanks backed by Saudis et al to keep the US dependent on foreign oil.    F Hollywood F TV.

CH1's picture

An anti-fracking movie??

Sadly, the Pavlovians may very well do as the advertisers say, and pour in to the theaters.

After all, flashing images on TV demand action!

DanDaley's picture

Let's remember, actors always read other people's lines written for them.

jwoop66's picture

exactly.   Leave the middle east for the russians, europeans and the chinese to fight over.  Let them deal with that shithole clusterfuck.

CompassionateFascist's picture

No can do: Iraq, then Libya, & now Iran tried/trying to go off the petroDOLLAR. If Iran succeeds, others will follow and the domestic dollar shortly goes to hyperinflation...and our entire PONZIconomy to collapse. For ZOG to stay in power, Iran - like Iraq and then Libya - must and will be attacked. But IF Iran, backed by Russia/China, can then keep the Straits closed for more than a few weeks...oil/gas prices go to asymptotic spike and the same thing happens. Perfect Storm coming.  

Urban Redneck's picture

The date of the petrodollar's inevitable demise is controlled by the bankers, not the politicians.

newworldorder's picture

RE: ComassionateFascist

Thanks for the thoughtfull analysis. ME oil is not about what oil we get  get from that region. Thats the icing on the cake. Oil for Europe, China and other parts of Asia is the cake. Without stability and commerce in that part of the world, the financial system shuts down.

US and allied military interests will do everything they can to reiforce the POWER structure in the world. The US military is not there to spread "democracy." It exists to guarantee the financial interests of power holders, regardless of nationality.


BattlegroundEurope2011's picture



Hugo needs to up his game.


morpheus000's picture

Whoever said it was about oil supply to the US? Corporate profits and control of surrounding regions.

Jack Burton's picture

markmotive, Thank you for that link. Very informative video!

ACP's picture

Your post was the inspiration for a new slang term: "Groin Beans."


CrimsonAvenger's picture

Ouch! Right in the ol' groin beans!

Half_A_Billion_Hollow_Points's picture

As soon as China or Russia nuke one of the fleets, we'll start to understand that all our naval projection is based on an illusion.  


And by the way, the Arab world will celebrate the mushroom, and many other "allies" will quietly see that Globocop is dead, and the tide changes overnight.

RSBriggs's picture

They'll celebrate for about an hour, maybe, until the US missiles launched in response start landing and the entire worlds nuke arsenal goes MAD.   Afterwards, they'll die a long slow agonizing death from starvation and radiation poisoning as they realize that you can't eat sand or oil...  Welcome to the nuclear winter..

A nuclear Iran has the ability to pop a nuke over the east coast of the US.  The resulting EMP pulse would take down the entire power grid in the US for weeks - if it ever came back up - and erase most of the little 1's and 0's on the comptuers that control what the entire world counts as money.  With the lights out,  ATM, EBT cards and Obamaphones suddenly not working, the major urban areas in the US start burning down within 24 hours.  Store shelves are empty within 48 hours and no more on the way via truck.   You really, really don't want to go here....

Seer's picture

"A nuclear Iran has the ability to pop a nuke over the east coast of the US. "

Yes, just toss out a crap premise like this and hope that no one notices.

Iran as ZERO nukes.  As such it has NO ability to nuke the east coast of the US.

Obviously you've got a hidden agenda: logic and reason can always flush this shit out.

Anton LaVey's picture

Yes indeed Mr Seer old chap.

I'll go one step further even if Iran had nukes - which they do not - it would not have the capability to (a) miniaturize it and (b) the means to deliver it over long distances.

Which means that they MAY be able to attack regional rivals - Saudi Arabia comes to mind - or forces that are in the Gulf, but certainly not Europe or the United States.

As far as the agenda is concerned, it's fairly easy to guess: we have seen the exact same process at work before the atack on Iraq.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

They likely have no nukes.  Their delivery capability would not reach the US.  

When they have nukes they could hit all sorts of non Shiite targets like the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia or Tel Aviv.  Both are non Shiite.

I'd guess they hit both.  That will take 5 million bpd off the market instantly.

lastboyscout's picture

Really? Think again. No need to miniaturize. All you need is a high altitude detonation. A commercial airliner on a regular route, a short range missile (they have these) topped with a nuke fired 50 miles off the coast from a freighter. Really, it's not as hard as you think. And coming from a country that has no qualms about a retaliatory strike.

BigInJapan's picture

Non-miniaturization and short-range missiles don't go together. Ask North Korea about delivery systems or rather their complete lack thereof.
I ain't' scared. Are you?

RSBriggs's picture

Of North Korea?  Their idea of pretending to have nukes is to detonate several trainloads - several thousand tons - of explosives underground.

There is no reason to have to miniaturize.  A sphere of 90% U235 about 6 inches in diameter is sufficient to go super-critical.  The first nuke dropped used 110 Kg of 80% U235 - way more than necessary and less refined than current P2 centrifuges allow.   You can build a nuke these days that weighs under 20 kilos.  And you don't necessarily have to hit anything, just detonate it in the air - a commercial airliner flying at 35,000 feet destination JFK airport would be just about right.

BigInJapan's picture

Yes, you "could", but not if you're North Korea or Iran.

 To say otherwise is disingenuous, unless you really are that ignorant.

Scared, are you?

lastboyscout's picture

Simplistic? flying airliners into buildings? How naive of me, that probably wouldn't work either.

RSBriggs's picture

Most of the conspiracy theorists here would disagree that it DID work.

nofluer's picture

A. In order to "pop a nuke" at any distance, Iran would have to have a missile capable of achieving LEO. they tried to put up a little bitty satelite a few days ago and their "vehicle" got off the ground, went up a little bit, then went BOOOOOM! and blew the hell out of their little bitty sattelite. ie they do NOT have the capability to "pop a nuke" anywhere in or over the US.

B. While an air burst would create an EMP, it would NOT take out significant miilitary assets as those are "hardened" against EMPs. When I store my emergency generator, I put it under a Faraday cage and the Iranians can pop all the air burst nukes they want - and when it's all over I'll fire up my generator and get the cows some water from my well pump. Lots of folks know about Faraday cages because the Sun is going into solar Max next year and could generate a Carrington event. (Mine cost me less than $10 to make...)

BigInJapan's picture

Some asshole red arrowed you for that?

They like being scared.
What did you make your Farraday cage from? Copper mesh?

Redhotfill's picture

What is Iran hired some mess-I-can coyotes to strap one on and head to Phoenix or better yet San Diego where the fleet is?

cnsteph's picture

They don't need a nuke.  All they need is the ability to make an EMP.   They don't need to make it from Iran to America, because they can just set up a base in Venezuela

RSBriggs's picture

Note that I said "A Nuclear Iran", not that Iran has nukes.  They already have the international missile delivery systems, and in reality, all you need to do is get something you can launch a short range missle from somewhere within 50 miles of the eastern seaboard.  They've also made it quite clear that the US is the "Great Satan".   It is not in the best interest of the US to allow Iran to have nukes.

I didn't say and I don't think that Iran has nukes, nor, for that matter, do t think NK has nukes, or they'd have sold Iran one or two by now.  We need to tread very carefully in Pakistan, as well, since they do.

mjcOH1's picture

"As soon as China or Russia nuke one of the fleets, we'll start to understand that all our naval projection is based on an illusion.  

And by the way, the Arab world will celebrate the mushroom, and many other "allies" will quietly see that Globocop is dead, and the tide changes overnight."

That'll be the day.    The last one.    Because when it absolutely has to be there in 35 minutes or less, the Air Force Global Strike Command is there to deliver

BigInJapan's picture

All these armchair missile jocks here on ZH talking about nuclear exchange like it means something other than the end.
"Nuking fleets". Nigga please.