Military build-up in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf: Israel and NATO sign framework agreement
By MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY
(23 October 2006) - ON THE 16th of October, NATO and Israel signed a major framework agreement, which essentially establishes close cooperation between Israel and the Atlantic Alliance in NATO-led "counterterrorism" under Operation Active Endeavour. "NATO and Israel have also finalised the modalities of Israel's contribution to the NATO maritime Operation Active Endeavour."
In practice, this operation in which Israel is participating coincides with the NATO naval build-up off the coast of Lebanon and Syria, which is presented to public opinion as a "peace-keeping" operation under a mandate emanating from the UN Security Council.
This Israel-NATO framework agreement not only has a bearing on the military build-up in the Eastern Mediterranean, which in practice is directed against Syria and Lebanon, it is also related to the massive deployment of US naval forces in the Persian Gulf, opposite Iran.
Three US naval task forces are currently in place opposite Iran in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, including the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, the USS Enterprise Strike Group and the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. The latter consists of the amphibious transport dock USS Nashville, the guided-missile destroyers USS Cole and USS Bulkeley, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, the attack submarine USS Albuquerque, and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island.
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