Two additional US Navy aircraft carriers are on their way to the Gulf and the
Red Sea, according to Kuwait Times. began finalising its "emergency war plan" on being told the vessels were bound for the region. Kuwait
The US Navy will neither confirm nor deny that carriers are currently en route.
US Fifth Fleet Combined Maritime Command located in said it could not comment because of what a spokesman termed "force-protection policy." Bahrain
While the Kuwaiti daily did not name the ships it believes are heading for the
Middle East, a defence analyst said they could be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan.
Within the last month, the
Roosevelt completed an exercise along the US East coast focusing on communication among navies of different countries. Since then, it has since been declared ready for operational duties.
The Reagan, currently with the Seventh Fleet, has just set sail from
The Seventh Fleet area of operation stretches from the East Coast of Africa to the International Date Line.
Meanwhile, the Arabic news agency Moheet reported at the end of July that an unnamed American destroyer, accompanied by two Israeli naval vessels travelled through the Suez Canal from the
Mediterranean. A week earlier, a US nuclear submarine accompanied by a destroyer and a supply ship moved into the Mediterranean, according to Moheet.
At present, two
naval battle groups operate in the Gulf: one is an aircraft carrier group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, which carries some 65-fighter aircraft. The other group, headed by the USS Peleliu, maintains a variety of planes and strike helicopters. US
The ship movements coincide with the latest downturn in relations between
Washington and . The US and Iran are at odds over Iran's nuclear programme, which the Bush administration claims is aimed at producing material for nuclear weapons; however, Tehran argues it is only for power generation. Tehran
The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council -
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman - lie just across the Gulf from . Generals in the Iranian military have repeatedly warned it will target American interests in the region if the Iran or its Western allies launch a military strike. US
The standoff between the
US and has left the Arab nations' political leaders in something of a dilemma. One analyst said Iran Washington and are using Arab nations as pawns. Tehran