(Persia Digest) - BRITISH Special Forces have flown to the Middle East as part of a top secret mission to combat any Iranian attacks on merchant ships, it's been reported.

Jon Lockett writes in The Sun that members of the elite Special Boat Service (SBS) are said to have joined UK registered oil tankers sailing to the Persian Gulf.

Once there, they will be tasked with monitoring Iranian military activity around the island of Qesham which is home to the country's naval gunboats, claims the Sunday Express.

After the two SBS crews have passed through the Strait of Hormuz  it is reported they will be airlifted off by Royal Navy Merlin helicopters operating out of Oman.

When the Sun Online contacted the Ministry of Defence about the reports a spokesman said they never comment about the special forces.

The alleged military move comes as the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group arrived for patrols in the Arabian Sea.

America has already deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.

And the US is planning to deploy as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces, a bombshell report claimed this week.

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Who are the Special Boat Service?

The Special Boat Service mainly recruits from the Royal Marines - a part of the military already considered by most to be an elite force.Despite its secretive nature, the SBS began during WWII as a specialist Army unit trained to undertake difficult amphibious operations.Its primary role of the SBS is to gather data regarding targets, ascertain the direction of naval artillery fire, and to counter terrorism.In the service’s infancy, men would paddle ashore on small boats launched from subs to sabotage enemy rail and communication lines.They would also plant mines on enemy ships, using their ability to work undercover and utilise the crucial element of surprise.The SBS still plays an active, although a very secretive, role in military operations and most recently served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, US President is said to be becoming increasingly frustrated with the hawkish advisers he believes are trying to railroad him into an armed conflict.

Trump - who wrote the bestseller The Art of the Deal - now believes direct talk with Tehran is the best way forward.

He now wants to turn peacemaker and stand by his long-standing pledge to withdraw the US from costly foreign wars, reports the Washington Post.

Trump campaigned on avoiding overseas conflicts, but also on taking a tougher line on Iran and pulling out of the nuclear deal - which he did after taking office.

The paper quotes a senior administration official as saying Trump is growing angry with what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking.

Quoting several US officials, the paper now reports Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving mounting tensions in the Middle East and wants to speak directly with Iran's leaders.

“He is not comfortable with all this ‘regime change’ talk,” which to his ears echoes the discussion of removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before the 2003 US invasion."

However, the president is willing to respond with force if there are American deaths or a dramatic escalation, the official said.

John Bolton, his hardline national security adviser, is a known "hawk" in the foreign policy community and has long pushed for regime change in Iran.

Referring to Bolton's distinctive facial hair, a senior Iranian official mocked Trump saying he is being led into war by “the moustache”.

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