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Latest George Little Items
Iran closed out naval war games in the Gulf on Tuesday much the way they began last month: striking a tone of military defiance while Western powers rallied behind tougher oil and financial sanctions as a crippling tool against Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran's stepped-up bellicosity, including a warning Tuesday that a U.S. aircraft carrier should not return to the Persian Gulf, is a reaction to increased talk in the United States and Israel of a strike on its nuclear sites, and of the West adding economic sanctions on its already struggling economy, analysts say.
The political world will shift 1,300 miles to the east later this week.
With missile batteries, fleets of attack boats and stocks of naval mines, Iran can disrupt traffic through the Strait of Hormuz but probably cannot completely shut down the world's most important oil route, military analysts say. The question for Iran's leadership is whether it is worth the heavy price.
The U.S. warned Iran on Wednesday that it will not tolerate any disruption of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran threatened to choke off the vital Persian Gulf oil transport route if Washington imposes sanctions targeting its crude exports.
The handover of power in North Korea to Kim Jong-il's young son Kim Jong-un appeared to be going smoothly Thursday, with official media calling the heir an "outstanding leader" and no outward unrest in the capital or troop movements along its borders.
The Defense Department on Monday said the alert readiness for U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula was unchanged following the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.
The nation's highest-ranking military officers convened at the Pentagon last week to discuss the smaller armed forces they will inherit once $450 billion in cuts commence in 2013.
Pakistan resumed some cooperation with U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan following NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers by working with the coalition to prevent another cross-border incident from escalating, a spokesman said Wednesday.