TEHRAN -- A recent decision by the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet to launch a drone task force is a step towards the establishment of a joint maritime unit comprising Persian Gulf Arab countries and the occupying regime of Israel for proxy missions in the region, Iran’s Nour News agency said on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the 5th Fleet based in Bahrain announced that it will launch the new task force that incorporates airborne, sailing and underwater drones after years of maritime attacks linked to ongoing tensions with Iran.
U.S. Navy officials declined to identify which systems they would introduce from their headquarters in Bahrain, but said the coming months would see the drones stretch their capabilities across the region.
“We want to put more systems out in the maritime domain above, on and below the sea,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, who leads the 5th Fleet. “We want more eyes on what’s happening out there.”
“These measures are in line with the launch of a joint maritime unit between Persian Gulf Arab countries and the Zionist regime. Using the equipment announced, the unit is supposed to play a role in proxy missions thanks to the support of the United States,” said Nour News, a website close to Iran’s top security body Supreme National Security Council.
“Successive failures in costly military campaigns in West Asia have led to a new U.S. national security strategy, under which the American military focus in the region will shift to establishing a presence in East Asia and the South China Sea,” it added.
According to the report, Washington is expected to hand over part of the missions of its military units in West Asia to Arab states and the Zionists to make its absence in West Asia and the Persian Gulf not conspicuous.
On September 1, the Tel Aviv regime officially moved into the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, taking over from the European Command (EUCOM).
Nour News said the move paved the way for the occupying regime of Israel to design and implement evil acts in the region with the help of some of the Persian Gulf Arab states.
“The new strategy, which lays the ground for the pursuit of the new
national security doctrine, began by creating artificial tensions in the region based on a pre-designed scenario,” it added.
In late July, the U.S., the UK and the occupying regime of Israel blamed Iran for a deadly drone attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker, the Mercer Street, off the coast of Oman.
A few days later, Reuters claimed that “Iran-backed forces” were believed to have seized the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Associated Press, citing information from MarineTraffic.com, also reported that four tankers - the Queen Ematha, the Golden Brilliant, Jag Pooja and Abyss - broadcast over the Automatic Identification System (AIS) that their vessels were “not under command.”
Later, however, it emerged that all those contradictory reports of maritime incidents were circulated by the Zionists to justify their own evil acts in the region and portray Iran as the country that is causing insecurity, Nour News said.
“The depth of the Zionists’ lies became more evident after the Golden Brilliant docked at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port days after rumors about its possible hijacking.”
AP: U.S. Pulls Missiles
Systems in Saudi Arabia
The United States has removed its most advanced missile system and Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, the Associated Press reports, even as the kingdom faces retaliatory missile and drone strikes from Yemen.
The U.S. news agency said its analysis of satellite pictures showed the redeployment of the systems from Prince Sultan Air Base, some 115 kilometers (70 miles) southeast of Riyadh.
“The redeployment of the defenses from Prince Sultan Air Base outside of Riyadh came as America’s Persian Gulf Arab allies nervously watched the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan,” the agency wrote.
Prince Sultan Air Base has been hosting several thousand U.S. troops since 2019 when the Yemeni army forces and their allies launched a missile-and-drone attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
The AP said Persian Gulf Arab nations worry about the U.S.’s future plans as its military perceives a growing threat in Asia that requires those missile defenses.
“Perceptions matter whether or not they’re rooted in a cold, cold reality. And the perception is very clear that the U.S. is not as committed to the Persian Gulf as it used to be in the views of many people in decision-making authority in the region,” the news agency cited Kristian Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, as saying.
“From the Saudi point of view, they now see Obama, Trump and Biden — three successive presidents — taking decisions that signify to some extent an abandonment,” Ulrichsen said.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged “the redeployment of certain air defense assets”, but stressed that the U.S. maintained a “broad and deep” commitment to its Middle East allies.
“The Defense Department continues to maintain tens of thousands of forces and a robust force posture in the Middle East representing some of our most advanced air power and maritime capabilities, in support of U.S. national interests and our regional partnerships,” Kirby said.
The Saudi Defense Ministry, in a statement, also acknowledged the withdrawal of the American missile systems, but similarly said the kingdom had “strong, longstanding and historic” relationship with Washington.
The Saudi military, it said, “is capable of defending its lands, seas and airspace, and protecting its people.”
Yemeni armed forces launched a retaliatory drone attack against Saudi Arabia’s southwest on Thursday, in response to the kingdom’s ongoing military onslaught and brutal siege on its crisis-hit southern neighbor.
On Sunday, the Yemeni Armed Forces launched missile and drone strikes against Aramco oil facilities in the city of Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, and other locations.