With the situation in Egypt continuing to border on sheer chaos, many wonder what approach the US will take, so far having demonstrated its inability to decide how to swallow the humiliation of having a US-backed regime get swept away in a military coup while it continues supporting the country with both money and weapons. But while the State Department dithers, its head busy boating somewhere off the coast of Massachussetts, the US military is not wasting much time, and appears to be amassing a naval presence just off the coast of Egypt. No need to worry, though: Egypt’s Ahram reports that “the US Embassy in Egypt denied Saturday that US naval vessels near Egypt’s shores are sent in preparation for military action. A top Marine Corps general said Thursday that two US marine vessels approached Egypt’s Red Sea shore, raising concerns in the Egyptian media about an imminent military move.”
“We deny false claims in the Egyptian press that US naval ships are in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula and the Suez Canal to militarily invade Egypt,” read a statement issued on the US embassy’s website.
Alas, since the US lately does not have a great track record with either telling the truth, or being honest about which country it is about to “militarily invade”, one can see why ordinary Egyptians, who have no idea on whose side the US is currently, may be worried.
More from Ahram:
The statement went on to say that the United States regularly deploys forces near the Arabian Peninsula and that US vessels regularly pass through Egypt’s Suez Canal en route to the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea.
US Marine Corps officials said the two ships, part of a three-ship amphibious readiness group, has been in the region since May, patrolling the Red Sea, Horn of Africa, the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The third ship is offshore Bahrain.
They went on to assert there were no new orders to prepare for a possible conflict in Egypt.
Moving amphibious ships closer to the coast would enable easier movement of helicopters and other equipment, if needed in a country now in ferment, navy officials said.
The US Embassy’s full statement can be found here. The Pentagon Press Sec went one better and called all such reports “absolutely wrong”
Some Egyptian press reports suggest US Navy ships are near Arabian Peninsula/Suez Canal to invade Egypt. Those reports are absolutely wrong.
— George Little (@PentagonPresSec) July 13, 2013
Using biblical logic, all that is needed to confirm an imminent invasion of Egypt would be just one more denial.
Joking aside, it is a given that preserving the Suez Canal is of paramount importance for the US, if not so much for a quick transit access for cargo between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, but to preserve access to the US 5th Naval Fleet based in Bahrain. Because once that is cut off, there goes quick and easy naval support for Israel operations in and around Iran.
Finally, it appears that the marine fleet in question currently parked by Egypt is the LHD-3 Kearsarge which has a fleet of helicopters and 2000 marines on board, and which was by the Suez two weeks ago, and which as recently as this Wednesday was located by the Straits of Hormuz according to the latest Stratfor Naval map. The same Kearsarge that played a key role in the Libyan coup two years ago.