When the John Stennis carrier group left the Gulf at the end of the year after conducting the last combat aviation missions over Iraq, Iran warned the US against sending another carrier. That was, of course, a non-starter; the Carl Vinson, though apparently it is still outside the Straits, quickly replaced the Stennis. Now it has been announced that the Abraham Lincoln is also moving to the Gulf Area of Operations.
|Iranian Frigate Sahand Burning, 1988 (Wikimedia Commons)|
In that action, in response to a US frigate striking a mine, the US struck two Iranian oil platforms, sank an Iranian frigate and several smaller craft and damaged a second frigate. It is said to have been the US Navy's biggest surface engagement since World War II, and the first time US Naval surface units used ship-to-ship missiles in combat. The US is no paper tiger, and while Iran has a Navy much rebuilt and armed with modern missiles since 1988, the Vinson and Lincoln battle groups can defend themselves, too. That just adds to the powder keg, though, and while I personally doubt that Iran really wants a shootout with the US Navy, or that the US Administration is as eager as some in the commentariat to light the spark. I just hope everyone remembers that playing with fire around a gas pump can be risky.