Massive US Military Buildup on Two Strategic Islands: Socotra and Masirah

DEBKA.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly #526 January 26, 2012

While quietly casting lines to draw Tehran into talks on their nuclear dispute, President Barack Obama is reported exclusively by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and Washington sources to have secretly ordered US air, naval and marine forces to build up heavy concentrations on two strategic islands – Socotra, which is part of a Yemeni archipelago in the Indian Ocean, and the Omani island of Masirah at the southern exit of the Strait of Hormuz.
Socotra is situated 80 kilometers east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers southeast of the Yemeni coastline. It lies athwart the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. A military base there is in a position to oversee the shipping moving in and out of those strategic naval waterways.
Lushly verdant, Socotra is approximately 120 kilometers long by 40 kilometers wide. Its population of 55,000 has its own distinct language and culture. Since 2010, the US has been quietly building giant air force and naval bases on Socotra with facilities for submarines, intelligence command centers and take-off pads for flying stealth drones, as part of a linked chain of strategic US military facilities in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.
The Socotra facilities are so secret that they are never mentioned in any catalogue listing US military facilities in this part of the world, which include Jebel Ali and Al Dahfra in the United Arab Emirates; Arifjan in Kuwait; and Al Udeid in Qatar – all within short flying distances from Iran.
Additional US forces are also being poured into Camp Justice on the barren, 70-kilometer long Omani island of Masirah, just south of the Hormuz entry point to the Gulf of Oman from the Arabian Sea.
US military facilities were established there after the signing of an access agreement with Oman in 1980.

Up to 100,000 US troops present by early March

For the new buildup on Socotra, Washington had to negotiate a new deal with Yemen’s ousted ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Injured in an assassination attempt last year, Saleh demanded permission to travel to the United States for medical treatment. The Obama administration first refused, then relented when Saleh made it his condition for consenting to additional troops landing on the island.
Western military sources familiar with the American buildup on the two strategic islands tell DEBKA-Net-Weekly that, although they cannot cite precise figures, they are witnessing the heaviest American concentration of might in the region since the US invaded Iraq in 2003.
Then, 100,000 American troops were massed in Kuwait ahead of the invasion. Today, those sources estimate from the current pace of arrivals on the two island bases, that 50,000 US troops will have accumulated on Socotra and Masirah by mid-February. They will top up the 50,000 military already present in the Persian Gulf region, so that in less than a month, Washington will have some 100,000 military personnel on the spot and available for any contingency.
US air transports are described as making almost daily landings on Socotra and Masirah. They fly in from the US naval base of Diego Garcia, one of America’s biggest military facilities, just over 3,000 kilometers away. The US military presence in the region will further expand in the first week of March when three US aircraft carriers and their strike groups plus a French carrier arrive in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea: They are the USS Abraham LincolnUSS Carl VinsonUSS Enterprise and the Charles de Gaullenuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
A fourth US carrier will be standing by in the Pacific Ocean, a few days’ sailing time from the water off Iran’s coast.

Obama may debunk Republican charges that he is weak on Iran

By early March, therefore, America will have piled up enough military strength within reach of Iran to exercise its consistently avowed military option.
Tuesday, Jan. 24, in his State of the Union address, the president said: “Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.”
Our military sources have also picked up reports of British and French air, naval and special forces landings this month in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
All these military concentrations and Obama’s latest word on the Iranian nuclear issue tend to confirm that nothing has changed since DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Washington first reported in November 2011 on the US president’s resolve to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in the course of 2012.
(See DEBKA-Net-Weekly 515 of Nov. 4: Targeting Tehran: Obama Set to Attack Iran’s Nuclear Sites by the fall of 2012),
The only difference may be the possibility of the date moving up from fall to spring, depending on three developments:
1. The outcome of the secret exchanges taking place between Washington and Tehran on which we have reported exclusively;
2. An Israeli decision to go ahead with a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
President Obama has not been able to convince Israel to drop this option and leave military action entirely to the United States.
3. The US presidential election campaign: Obama may decide to go for an attack to cripple Iran’s nuclear program and preempt its production of a bomb to gain a winning hand for trumping his Republican rivals’ accusation that he is weak on Iran.

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15 Comments on “Massive US Military Buildup on Two Strategic Islands: Socotra and Masirah”

    • jesscollie Says:

      The Arab spring, and the simultaneous unrest throughout North Africa, set a backdrop for the ongoing and growing violence in Syria. Syria has already slipped into civil war, neutralising it’s ability to be ready for the impending strike on Iran. It is against this scenario that the intentions of US and Israeli regional policies must be considered. There may yet be time for Iran to substantiate that it’s nuclear intentions are truly limited to peaceful applications but that time will soon run out. In fact it has probably already run out..


      • Let it be….Arab spring, 100 years of spring :-) I am from Israel, I am am very sorry that Bashar Assad kills women and children. He was good for Israel, peace and quiet at the borders. I ask you, the opposition will do better for the Syrian people? No way, they want the Power. Arab Spring????? Arab religious extremism via “democracy” Obama made Egypt an Extemist Islamic country, betrayed Mubarak, put Israel in danger. Now Iran with the new Hitler, Ahmadinejad. 21-dec-2012 is near :-)

  1. lex Says:

    Well, why aren’t the anti-war folks shouting that Obama is a warmonger and a killer?

    • sepepper Says:

      Short answer: because he’s THEIR guy– they’re giving him a LOT more slack on his leash than the previous one.

      • peppersoul Says:

        It is not Obama or any one single persons decision. Any war effort is dictated to any sitting president and he is just an announcer. It is not an easy task for any president to declare war on any nation and he or she is unable to stop it either.

  2. M-J de Mesterton Says:

    Reblogged this on M-J in the Republic.


  3. Why did the President give away the bases we fought for and died for in Iraq. Especially at FOB Spiecher which is located just minutes off the Iranian boarder. Spiecher complete with air fields, helo. bases, supply routes etc. The border Hussien used to move the WMD’s across. With that base we would not need to spend billions building new ones in Yeman. Since we just pulled out of Iraq and FOB Spiecher a few months ago and this build up has been going on for months you too should be asking the question: WHY?

    • Big Bill Says:

      Why? It’s all about $$. Think about the construction costs then see Who gets the contracts. It’s always about $$.

  4. Dr. Doom Says:

    “Especially at FOB Spiecher which is located just minutes off the Iranian boarder. ”

    You just answered your own question, George.


    • Do you think that the Shiite Government of IRAQ would allow us to mount an attack against IRAN from IRAQ’s territory??

      Why do you think they declined to renew the force agreement?

  5. a.E. Says:

    “The Socotra facilities are so secret that they are never mentioned in any catalogue listing US military facilities in this part of the world,”

    Yes but secret enough to deploy 100,000 (ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND) troops on the island of Socotra until March ? This article is the purest bunkum.

  6. Aras Rebew Says:

    Quiet mobilization of subs, stealth bombers, carriers on route Mine sweeping craft being already in the Straight of Hormuz. This is going to be a US strike. Communication’s first, then on to strategic military & nuclear targets. In and out quickly, no ground troups. Predict late Aug early Sept. hot & miserable, too hot for ground troups on either side of this unfortunate issue.

  7. andy veevers Says:

    Hi. as a Brit, I am truely thankful there is a USA, it won the 2nd world war against the greatest evil known to mankind, now if you read the final chapter in the bible, book of revelations it states this is the build up to end of days and armageddon on the 21st Dec 2012, it describes almost to the word what is now happening in the middle east, a scarey thought. to cut it short it clearly states Russia as the great evil and is refered to as magog, and gog is its leader, experts know this as the book gives geographic locations. The USA won a terrible conflict in Vietnam against magog,/ Russia, it also warns us to turn our backs and shun magog and its leader gog who will with its allies, Siria, Iran the then persia, attack Israel a Jewish nation, and Israel will stand alone in this terrible war as the USA will be neutralised and unable to assist, we see all this and Russia s build up of military near Iran as a clear warning to the USA to keep out and it may very well do so, we l wait and see, and hope we do not come to armageddon, end of days. The USA has served to protect the free world for decades now, GOD BLESS AMERICA. The book goes on to say Israel will prevail and win the war but only with Gods help and fire will reign down from the heavens and destroy Israels enemies but the wrath of God will be on mankind and few people will survive this holocaust and wrath of God. Maybe fire from the heavens is the US star wars program which is caperble of firing a laser from satallites and destroy cities. Whatever we can only look to the USA for help and protection and for all you morons who think the USA is the aggressor, read the bible and know your enemy, your enemy is Russia, Siria, Iran, and other communist states, even china is playing its part against us. This Iranian nutter is muttering apocolyptic verses now considering himself to be the greatest power on earth that even the USA is afraid of him, he should have been taken out years ago and I just hope they know whats coming to them inclu Russia, the USA even let Russia off the hook when the iron curtain came crashing down and should have crushed it when they had the chance once and for all, fake promises from paper men that we will never threaten the USA again and now look. GOGS PROMISES MEAN NOTHING SO KNOW YOUR ENEMY.


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