Israel and the United States have postponed a massive joint defense exercise, which had been expected in the coming weeks, in order to avoid an escalation with Iran, Channel 2 reported on Sunday.
According to an Israeli defense official, Washington wants to avoid causing further tensions in the region, especially in light of the sensitive situation that has been generated after various reports in the international media that the U.S. and Israel are preparing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The drill, codenamed Austere Challenge 12, was supposed to simulate missiles fired by Iran or other antagonistic states landing in Israel. Defense officials told Channel 2 on Sunday that the drill is now scheduled to take place in the summer.
There is more going on in the region than just rumors of the US and Israel hitting Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran has been tailing our ships and threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. That would choke off, or give Iran control over, a sixth of the world’s daily oil supply. If the US canceled the joint exercises in response to Iran’s threats, that’s possible cowardice.
But they postponed the exercises, which had been planned long before the latest tensions with Iran, to this summer. No date announced yet, but the Republicans will be nominating Obama’s challenger late in the summer. It would make for useful optics for the president, who has a problem with Jewish and non-Jewish pro-Israel voters, to have the military conducting joint exercises with Israel around the time the RNC convention is taking place. Austere Challenge is not a small joint exercise; it would be the largest ever conducted between the US and Israel.
I’m not accusing, here. Just asking and wondering.