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US, Allies Set to Launch Largest Naval Exercise Ever in Middle East

US, Allies Set to Launch Largest Naval Exercise Ever in Middle East 13 Sep 2012 The United States and more than two dozen allies are gearing up for the largest naval exercise ever in the Middle East focused on countering the threat of anti-ship mines. The maneuvers starting next week are the latest flexing of American military muscle in and around the Persian Gulf, even as Washington tries to convince ally Israel that diplomacy and sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to scale back its nuclear program need more time to work. U.S. Navy officials insist that the anti-mine exercise is not about any specific country or a response to 'Iranian threats' to shut the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, the route for one-fifth of the world's oil.