U.S. and Israeli generals say they are embarking on the largest exercise in their long military relationship
It's been in the making for more than two years, but comes now against a backdrop of tension with Iran and sharp rhetoric in the U.S. presidential election
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin says American forces have started arriving in Israel for the exercise. Others will participate from positions around Europe and the Mediterranean
When does the New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Fox News, and most of the military press corps care about a routine bilateral military exercise?
When it’s a massive U.S.-Israeli demonstration of regional missile defenses that comes amid high tensions with Iran and neighboring extremist groups, discord between Jerusalem and Washington, and three weeks before a U.S. presidential election infused with Israeli security concerns, that’s when
The $60 million exercise (the Americans and Israelis split the bill) will involve 3,500 U.S. military personnel across Europe, Mediterranean, and Israel for three to four weeks in the field and simulation drills. The officers would not say the exact start dates, citing operational security purposes, only that it would start in late October.
The event drew unusually high attention when it was postponed from this spring until the fall per an Israeli request, yet with no clear explanation. Yet, amid the delay, tensions have increased over Iran’s continued progress in its nuclear program, and so-called “red lines” over how soon a Western military strike of some kind must occur to effectively halt the program.
Both officers on Wednesday were asked to explain the delay, but only said, “We all agreed it would be better to do in the fall.”