USS Nimitz: The U.S. is beefing up its presence in the Red Sea, moving the USS Nimitz carrier strike group – four destroyers and a supercarrier – into the Indian Ocean inlet, as the U.S. contemplates a military foray into Syria. The U.S. Navy has now doubled its presence in the eastern Mediterranean, reports the CS Monitor on Sept. 2.
The U.S. has moved missile-capable warships into firing range of Syria. The Nimitz now joins four U.S. guided-missile destroyers — the Ramage, the Gravely, the Barry and the Mahan — each carrying a payload of up to 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The Nimitz is not expected to participate in combat operations over Syria, “but is there for a greater U.S. military presence in the region even as the possibility of a U.S. missile strike appears to be delayed,” says a CNN report carried by Fox6Now.
“It's about leveraging the assets to have them in place should the capabilities of the carrier strike group and the presence be needed,” said a military official. The U.S. has previously said any action into Syria will not be a "boots on the ground" assault.
The Navy has also requested the USS San Antonio divert from its current mission and join the destroyers. The San Antonio is an amphibious ship with a crew of 300 Marines and extensive communications equipment, and is likely to provide technical support to the fleet.
The chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government against its citizens has President Obama asking Congress to sanction a strike against Syria. Early reports say Congress, which has yet to formally vote on the proposal, is divided in its potential response, shadowing the American people. A recent poll shows the majority do not support a strike against Syria.
President Obama has made it clear that he does not have to have the approval of Congress. It is within the purview of the Commander-in Chief to authorize military strikes, although Obama has said he hopes to have the “moral support” of an act of Congress behind him.
The deadly nerve gas sarin was used in the Aug. 21 rocket attack in Damascus, Syria, which left close to 1,500 dead, including hundreds of women and children.