US scales back military exercise with Israel; Israeli official tells TIME, ‘Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you”

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Back in January, reports came out that the US was planning a massive joint military exercise with Israel that was viewed as a possible precursor to an attack on Iran. Later that month, the exercise was called off, although it was not exactly clear why. The exercise was rescheduled to take place in October, just weeks before the presidential election, but new reports indicate it will be drastically scaled down. Time magazine reports:

Seven months ago, Israel and the United States postponed a massive joint military exercise that was originally set to go forward just as concerns were brimming that Israel would launch a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The exercise was rescheduled for late October, and appears likely to go forward on the cusp of the U.S. presidential election. But it won’t be nearly the same exercise. Well-placed sources in both countries have told TIME that Washington has greatly reduced the scale of U.S. participation, slashing by more than two-thirds the number of American troops going to Israel and reducing both the number and potency of missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise.

“Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you,’” a senior Israeli military official tells TIME.

The reductions are striking. Instead of the approximately 5,000 U.S. troops originally trumpeted for Austere Challenge 12, as the annual exercise is called, the Pentagon will send only 1,500 service members, and perhaps as few as 1,200. Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, but the crews to operate them will not. Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships being dispatched to Israeli waters, the new plan is to send one, though even the remaining vessel is listed as a “maybe,” according to officials in both militaries.

Time‘s Karl Vick and Aaron J. Klein interpret the move as the Obama administration pumping the breaks on an attack on Iran, but it also provides insight into the the current state of US/Israeli relations. Vick and Klein quote Efraim Inbar, who gloated to Helena Cobban that Israel would be able to “play” the Americans, saying neither the US or Israel trust each other:

In the current political context, the U.S. logic is transparent, says Israeli analyst Efraim Inbar. “I think they don’t want to insinuate that they are preparing something together with the Israelis against Iran – that’s the message,” says Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. “Trust? We don’t trust them. They don’t trust us. All these liberal notions! Even a liberal president like Obama knows better.”

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Go ahead, ‘play us’. Sooner or later you will lose….it all. Faster please. Dempsey: ‘I Don’t Want to Be Complicit’ in Israeli Strike on Iran The top US general warned against an Israeli attack on Iran, which would be counterproductive and dangerous by John Glaser, August 30, 2012 The United States will not be ‘complicit’ in an Israeli military strike on Iran, America’s top military general warned on Thursday, adding that such an attack would… Read more »

israel – you overplayed your hand – and FINALLY the U.S. swats it away … for this one moment it will be U.S. interests that dictate, not the whims of the current crop of deranged israeli leaders

Geez why is it that Israel does not trust the U.S. Helped create their country have allowed them to expand illegal settlements while undermining U.S. national security, last President to demand that they open up their nuclear weapons sites was President Kennedy, send them billions to spend on what ever they like, blocked sending in international observers from the UN. Now the U.S. may not be willing to follow them off the cliff to disaster… Read more »

helena’s interview with Inbar is just amazing/incredible! i urge everyone to open that link.

great post adam.

Even 1500 US military personnel in Israel in late October gives Israel an ideal opportunity to stage an ‘Iranian attack’ — but on American personnel this time. Preferably the victims will include some girls.

Israel will then retaliate — for us, of course. Ideally, it’s be about ten days before the election. Obama will be over a barrel. He’ll at least make approving noises.