nuclear standoff

Middle East Buildup Continues

US aircraft carriers USS Eisenhower and USS Enterprise in the Red Sea off the Saudi Arabian coast

November 1, 2006, 2:20 PM (GMT+02:00)

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower, and its accompanying carrier strike group, passed through the Suez Canal on Monday, Oct. 30, and arrived in the Red Sea on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the USS Eisenhower is at sea off the Saudi Arabian coast, together with another aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise. The presence of the two US aircraft carriers, and their accompanying strike groups, in a body of water as small as the Red Sea is an extraordinary development.

So far there have been no indications that the USS Eisenhower arrived to replace the USS Enterprise.

US Intelligence director John Negroponte also is in the region. He was in Saudi Arabia over the weekend and in Cairo on Tuesday, and is due to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

With the arrival of the USS Eisenhower in the region, there are now three US aircraft carriers in the Persion Gulf and surrounding waters, including the USS Iwo Jima. Accompanying the USS Eisenhower are the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, the guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage and USS Mason and the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Newport.