Report: U.S. considering military options to keep strait of Hormuz open

The US is considering military options should Iran decide to close the strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route for oil produced in the Middle East, reported Maariv on Saturday.

Located between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, it is the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open sea, with roughly one fifth of the petroleum on the planet passing through it.

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US Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis said at a July 27 press conference at the Pentagon that " Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz," adding that in the past this lead dozens of nations to "put their naval forces in for exercises," which lead the Iranians to not follow through on their plan.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan. This alliance, dubbed "Arab NATO" was suggested by the Saudis last year when Trump visited Saudi Arabia

The administration‘s hope is that the effort, tentatively known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), might be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled for Washington on Oct. 12-13, several sources said.

Should the US strike against Iran, Australia and the UK are reported to play a major role in the operation, ABC news reported on July 27.

The aid provided by Australia is expected to be mostly providing intelligence and information as Pine Gap joint defense facility in the Northern Territory is a key site in the operation of US spy satellites.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull denied having any knowledge on an upcoming US military strike or the US leader discussing such notion with him.  

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