The Gaza war prompts a massive deployment of ships in the Eastern Mediterranean

On military maps, the Mediterranean East looks like an anthill at the moment. Ahead, near or en route to the coast of the Gaza Strip and Israelships of warin number and unusual war capabilities also for the Mare Nostrum. The deployment is massive while the drums of war beat in Israel and Palestine. United Kingdom, France, Italy and, above all, USA are some of the countries that have deployed reinforcements (amphibious assault groups, frigates, torpedo and patrol ships, escort ships and even nuclear aircraft carriers) in recent weeks in the area, not far from other Russian and Chinese ships.

General Vincenzo Camporini, former chief of the Italian Defense Staff, describes it, in an analysis that coincides with specialized sources from other countries, as a extraordinary naval deployment and that “it had not been seen for a long time.” What would also be motivated “by the presence of soldiers from different countries of UNIFIL (the peacekeeping mission of the UN in Lebanon)”, who now “are more exposed to risks,” says Camporini. “At the same time USA has openly said that its objective is to act as a deterrent against the possibility that Iran consider intervening in the conflict”, he adds.

The last to announce it have been precisely the Italians. On Saturday, the Government of Giorgia Meloni reported that two multipurpose frigates, designed for deep strikes against land targets, are already in the area, and an Italian Navy amphibious assault ship was also heading there “for an eventual humanitarian evacuation.” A fourth ship, the Thaon di Revela modern and versatile patrol vessel currently anchored in Cyprus (an island that seems to have become a nerve center), would also be “ready,” supposedly to bring aid to the population of the Strip, according to Roma.

floating giants

The announcement came shortly after France confirm the deployment of Tonnerreone of the large assault ships of the French fleet, and which Paris claims it has sent to the area for humanitarian purposes; escorted, yes, by the frigates Alsace and Surcouf. Still, the Tonnerrewhich days ago I was in military maneuvers joints of the European Union (the MILEZ/LIVEX 23), is also equipped with sophisticated communications devices, which could help Paris have its own source of intelligence, analysts emphasize. At par, United Kingdom has already mobilized at least one RFA-class auxiliary landing ship and the ship Argusthe great floating hospital of the Royal Navy, according to the specialized page Naval News.

A separate issue, and of a major nature, is the great deployment of the US. Weeks ago, Washington reported the transfer to the area of Gerald R. Fordhe aircraft carrier most powerful in the world. This ship, which was in Italian waters when it received the order to head to the eastern Mediterranean, belongs to the US Sixth Fleet and has enormous capabilities thanks to its colossal dimensions and its propulsion with two nuclear reactors that allow it to sail without refueling and hosting dozens of aircraft and troops.

He ford He arrived at his mission site on October 10, according to the US Navy. The same source added that, with this ship, there is also the cruiser of guided missiles Normandyin addition to missile destroyers Ramage, Meat and, Thomas Hudner and Roosevelt. These last two, after refueling in Greece. With them, another aircraft carrier, the Dwight D. Eisenhower, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on October 28 and is now heading towards the eastern Mediterranean, as part of a strike group also made up of another cruiser, two destroyers and nine aircraft squadrons. They will also join the American warship Mount Whitneythat sailed days ago from the Italian city Gaeta (it is based in Naples) with on board the commander of the Sixth Fleet, Vice Admiral Thomas Ishee.

Chinese and Russian

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A forceful display and not without dangers, as stated by Julien Barnes-Dacey, researcher at the European studies center ECFR. Regarding the US maneuvers, for example, the “significant” risk is that Iran sees it as “a preventive escalation”, which could “encourage a widening of the conflict”, says Barnes-Dacey. “We have already seen an increase in clashes between Hezbollah and Israel, but also from militias backed by Iran and the US army in Syria“, which highlights the fragility of the situation,” this observer emphasizes.

Even more so, these ships are not alone. “We must not forget that in the area there are a dozen vessels of Russia “They were already there because they are quartered in naval bases in Syria,” recalls General Camporini. And they are also added to the at least Chinese warships that were in exercises in Oman and near Somalia, and that, according to some sources, would also remain in the area as a result of the ongoing conflict. Something that, according to observers, is a “clear political signal” that the Asian giant, a country equipped with modern hypersonic ballistic missiles, also wants to manifest itself as an actor in the Israeli-Palestinian war.