U.S. Deploys USS Bataan with 1000 Marines Off the Libyan Coast
nsnbc : The United States deploys the USS Bataan with about 1.000 Marines and helicopters off the Libyan coast, reportedly as precautionary measure to boost U.S. forces in the region and to secure the ability to evacuate U.S. Embassy staff from Libya is necessary. The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Libya.
The deployment comes against the background of increased fighting in the country, which began after General Khalifa Hifter and troops loyal to him suspended Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) on Sunday, one week ago.
The coup was carried out on the day when Muslim Brotherhood tied and disputed P.M. Ahmed Maetiq was to present a new cabinet to the GNC for approval. General Hifter, for his part, has a history of cooperation with both the CIA and MI6. Fighting in Libya has since then intensified and spread. Tunisia and Algeria have closed their borders to Libya, and a number of foreign companies have called home their staff.
A U.S. official said on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, that the USS Bataan will be in the region within a matter of days, reports the Iranian PRESS TV, adding that the Bataan, which is equipped with a contingent of helicopters has been deployed for the case that U.S. Embassy staff has to be evacuated.
The USS Bataan is an amphibious assault ship with carrier capabilities and the capability to deploy a full range of amphibious assault platforms including amphibious APC’s tanks and hovercraft. Earlier this month the U.S. deployed 250 Marines, along with several til-rotor Osprey aircraft to the Naval Air Station in Sigonella, on the Italian island Sicily to boost regional capabilities.
A U.S. Special Forces officer told nsnbc five days ago on condition of anonymity, that the deployment of 80 US troops and drones to Chad to take part in counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria is part of increased and strengthened regional operations and added that:
“There has been an effort to keep information about it out of the media. ..because of the sensitivity of the intelligence that is involved… It’s an operation that includes ´so-called anti-terrorism operations` in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Mali, Libya and Algeria”.
The situation in Libya is difficult to judge, say several analysts who point out that General Hifter is known for having been a CIA – MI6 asset, while both the ousted P.M. Ahmed Maetiq and other leading members of the ousted administration are closely linked to Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and the governments and intelligence services of U.S. allies Qatar and Turkey.
Ch/L – nsnbc 28.05.2014