The Pentagon deployed two warships, the USS Laboon and the USS McFaul, to Libya Wednesday evening after radical Islamists attacked the U.S. consulate on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, killing the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
According to reports from the Associated Press, the USS Laboon moved to a position off the Libya coast on Wednesday and the USS McFaul should be stationed “within days.” The ships carry Tomahawk missiles and have crews of 300. They, as of now, do not have specifically defined missions but have been deployed to give “commanders flexibility to respond to any mission ordered by the president.”
In addition, a day after no marines guarded the U.S. consulate in Libya despite repeated threats against U.S. interests in Libya, the U.S. dispatched 50 elite Marines based out of Spain to Libya. The Marines were headquartered at the Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia and will be sent to protect the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.
The Marines, according to reports, are a part of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST), whose role “is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to reinforce security at embassies.”
The warships are also based in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS Laboon is equipped with a Ballistic Missile Defense System and the USS McFaul had engaged in operations against pirates in the Arabian sea.
After Obama sent troops into Libya, without Congressional approval, to kill Muammar Gaddafi, the region has been further destabilized and al-Qaeda has gained more of a foothold.
A U.S. counterterrorism official has said Tuesday’s violence was “too coordinated or professional” to be a spontaneous response to an Internet film.