Both officials emphasize that if any military action is taken, it will be carried out by US allies in the region, such as the Saudis, and not US forces. The US military is already supporting the Saudis in their fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. And while the US regularly ships ships and planes to the region, any long-term military effort would require the participation of other nations, officials say.
Gen. Joseph Votel – head of the US Central Command, US foreign forces operations in the Middle East – was in the area this week, meeting with his colleagues and holding a conference of regional commanders to discuss security concerns. A spokesman said the meeting was long planned and it was not known how detailed the discussions on commercial shipping were. It is also unknown whether measures to protect the waterways are imminent.
The concern has been growing for days as Iranian officials have stepped up threats to shipping in the Persian Gulf and the bottleneck in the Strait of Hormuz.
Earlier this week, a US Navy warship passed the Strait of Hormuz without incident, but concern over potential problems in the future escalated as Iranians intensified their rhetoric to threaten this waterway. In the Red Sea, near the war ̵
"In the interests of ship and crew safety and avoiding oil spills, Saudi Aramco has temporarily halted all oil deliveries Bab El-Mandeb with immediate effect, the company carefully assesses the situation and will take further action, such as prudence requires, "said Saudi Aramco on Wednesday.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis made it clear that the US is working to keep international oil shipping routes open. Commenting on Friday, he noted that "Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz" and said that Tehran has in the past been trying to stop deliveries in order to get a military response, including military exercises, one To demonstrate commitment to demonstrate the preservation of waterways.
"Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz," he said. Mattis noted that in recent years Iranians have tried to stop shipping just to cooperate with the international military response, including military exercises, to keep the waterways open.
If the Iranians cease oil transport directly, "There would obviously have been an international response to re-opening the shipping lanes, because the world economy depends on this energy, these energy sources flow from there."
Mattis reiterated that the Pentagon would continue to work with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE to counter Iranian influence in the region. While the US is trying to urge the Saudis to keep the oil roads open, the Saudis are warning that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps will further intensify the verbal attacks on the Gulf states.