• U.S.

The Gulf: Going to a Zone Defense

1 minute read

The White House insisted it was a “change in procedure,” not in policy. But last week’s decision to wind down U.S. Navy escorts of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf was greeted with relief at the Pentagon. The Aug. 20 cease-fire between Iran and Iraq put an end to attacks on gulf shipping, and the Reagan Administration wasted no time in moving to relieve the Navy of a difficult task that since July 1987 has caused serious damage to two U.S. warships, led to the accidental downing of an Iranian jetliner and cost an estimated $20 million a month. Although 26 Navy warships will remain on duty in the gulf flotilla (down from a high of 42), the White House said from now on the U.S. will provide a “zone” defense instead of “man-to-man.”

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