First, there was this piece in the (otherwise highly unreliable) Debka file website:
DEBKAfile: USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group takes up position opposite Lebanese coast amid trepidation over September presidential election
Our military sources report that aboard the Kearsarge group’s vessels are members of the 22nds Marine special operations-capable Expeditionary Unit, ready to execute landings on Lebanese beaches.
Wednesday, Aug. 29, Adm. William Fallon, chief of US Central Command and the war on terror paid an unannounced visit to Beirut, although for years US generals have given the Lebanese capital a wide berth. He left after three hours, the longest time considered safe for him to stay. Our sources reveal he reviewed with Lebanese leaders US preparations for military intervention should the September presidential election descend into civil violence or elicit an attempt by Iran, Syria or Hizballah to seize power by force. Such an attempt could leave Lebanon dangerously stranded between two rival administrations.
The posting of the Kearsage and a marine force within reach of Lebanese shores is intended as a deterrent and indicator of Washington’s willingness to send the military over to prevent Lebanon’s takeover by Iran or Syria.
Adm. Fallon also inspected the measures for protecting the lives of the anti-Syrian leaders prime minister Fouad Siniora, majority party head Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and the safety of US ambassador Jeffrey Felton, a key mover in charting US strategy for Lebanon, and the embassy staff.
Portents of coming unrest were seen last week in the hasty departure from Beirut of the Saudi and UAE ambassadors under threats to their lives. Most Arab and European missions have cut down staff in the Lebanese capital.
Lebanese police are investigating the re-appearance of a sick videogame in Beirut whose goal is the murder of the prime minister, cabinet members, Jumblatt and Maronite leader Samir Geagea, who are designated “thieves and traitors.” Its name, “The Battle of the Seraya,” refers to the government building. The game, which has been removed from stores in Beirut, depicts underground tunnels leading from the government building to the US embassy, echoing Hizballah’s reference to the Siniora government as “the Feltman Cabinet.”
The government building has been guarded by tanks and three army and police battalions since the Hizballah-led opposition occupied downtown Beirut earlier this year with the declared aim of toppling the government.
Intrigued, I looked around the internet and then found this earlier article:
USS Kearsarge Strike Group Deploys
The USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce left Naval Station Norfolk on Monday. The ships are a part of the Kearsarge Expeditiionary Strike Group. Also today, The USS Gunston Hall left Little Creek for the mission.
The Commander of the strike group tells Your NewsChannel 3 the 5,000 sailors and marines are prepared for high combat operations and non combatant evacuation operations.
Families and friends stood in the rain to send the men and woman off. In fact the weather delayed the two ships from leaving Naval Station Norfolk for a couple of hours.
Although the Navy will not exactly say where the strike group will go overseas, it says it will be ready for any mission that confronts the sailors and marines.
Four other ships apart of the strike group ship our later this week.
finally, one other news item confirmed that the Kearsarge Strike Group was indeed in the eastern Mediterranean:
USS Kearsarge in Malta
Gospel Choir sings in Maltese Churches
Thursday, 16 August, 2007
During a brief visit to Malta in the coming days, the Ambassadors for Christ Gospel Choir of the United States Navy Ship USS Kearsarge, will sing during two local Masses.
On Wednesday, 15 August, the Choir sang during the 6pm Mass at San Lawrence Parish Church, Vittoriosa. On Saturday, 18 August they will animate the 6.45pm Mass at the Mater Boni Consigli Church in Paceville.
The USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) is a Wasp class multipurpose amphibious assault ship. Her primary mission is the embarkation, deployment, landing and support of a Marine landing force. The crew is made up of 77 officers, 1,100 sailors and 2,000 Marines. Captain James Gregorski is the Commanding Officer and he is a native of Roslyn, Long Island, New York.
While in Malta, volunteers from the USS Kearsarge will, once again, lend a helping hand at a number of Maltese institutions. Community relations projects are a tradition of the U.S. Navy and several Maltese charities have benefitted from the generosity of the sailors who give up their free time to work on projects ranging from general maintenance to gardening. The Chaplains of the USS Kearsarge will also meet with H.G.. Archbishop Paul Cremona at The Archbishop’s Curia.
Taken together these sources point out to yet another major Imperial deployment, this time off the coast of Lebanon. In the context of more and more indicators and warnings pointing towards a possible massive attack against Iran and the upcoming elections in Lebanon, not to mention Hezbollah’s frantic preparations for yet another Israeli aggression against Lebanon all the pieces appear to be falling into place for a major in the Middle-East.