Thousands of US Troops Gear Up For 'Unprecedented' Military Drill With Israel Further Inflaming Tensions With Iran

In the wake of new tensions between the United States and Iran, the US military is preparing to send several thousand troops to perform a joint missile defense drill with the Israeli military, in what the Jerusalem Post touted as the “largest-ever missile defense exercise” in Israeli history.

The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.

The announcement came last month, prompting Iran to undertake a 10-day naval drill near the Straight of Hormuz. Iran see's this as an act of provocation as demonstrated by a news report from the Iranian PressTV entitled US deploys troops in Israel for Iran war.

According to the Associated Press, a Senior Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said today that the drill will take place within the next few weeks, although he wouldn’t give an exact date. 

The Israeli official said thousands of American and Israeli soldiers from different units would take part. He said the drill would test multiple Israeli and U.S. air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets. Israel has deployed the "Arrow" system, jointly developed and funded with the U.S., designed to intercept Iranian missiles in the stratosphere, far from Israel.

Martin Van Creveld, a military historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said Thursday that the drill was intended not only to practice military maneuvers but also to pressure Iran.

"Defending against an attack is not something that you improvise from today to tomorrow. it's something you have to prepare, you have to rehearse, you have to prepare for," Van Creveld said. "This, among other things, is an exercise to show Iran, the people in Tehran, that Israel and the United States are ready to counterattack," he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta previewed the exercise in a speech last month, saying it would be an example of unprecedented levels of defense cooperation that the Obama administration has achieved "to back up our unshakable commitment to Israel's security."

Let's hope that this “unshakable commitment” doesn't push us into another unaffordable and deadly war.

AlterNet / By Rania Khalek

Posted at January 5, 2012, 8:51am

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