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Sat Sep 1, 2012, 01:44 PM

US 'scales down' military exercise with Israel

WASHINGTON — The United States has significantly scaled down a planned joint military exercise with Israel most likely because of disagreements on how to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions, Time magazine has reported on its website.

Citing "well-placed sources in both countries", the magazine said Washington was slashing by more than two-thirds the number of US troops going to Israel, and reducing the number and potency of missile interception systems that will be used in the exercise dubbed Austere Challenge 12, which is scheduled for October.

Instead of approximately 5,000 US troops, the Pentagon will send between 1,200 and 1,500. Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, but the crews to operate them will not, according to the report.

Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships, the new plan calls for sending just one, and even the remaining vessel is listed as a "maybe", the report said.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j9sH-uXOPA8ToDDicQ2kyqWNLOwQ?docId=CNG.e4aea3a070b42cd0bd2360e573108dad.71

DKOS has this comment also, which has some interesting bits (scroll down a bit):

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/01/1126701/-Bibi-and-the-Black-Swan

18 replies, 1859 views

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply US 'scales down' military exercise with Israel (Original post)
bemildred Sep 2012 OP
bemildred Sep 2012 #1
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #2
bemildred Sep 2012 #3
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #8
bemildred Sep 2012 #9
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #11
bemildred Sep 2012 #12
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #14
bemildred Sep 2012 #15
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #17
eyl Sep 2012 #4
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #5
shira Sep 2012 #6
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #7
Scootaloo Sep 2012 #13
bemildred Sep 2012 #10
shaayecanaan Sep 2012 #16
bemildred Sep 2012 #18

Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:47 PM

1. Iran to hold major air defense drill to simulate emergency situations

Such a coincidence.

Iranian commander says drill to include both the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; it follows a series of large-scale military simulations such as the 'Great Prophet 7' missile exercises which took place in July.

Iran will hold a large-scale military drill involving all its air defense systems next month, an Iranian commander was quoted as saying on Saturday, one of a number of military simulations it has carried out this year.

The air defense drill will include fighter jets and simulate emergency situations, said Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Iranian army's air defense force, according to Iran's English-language Press TV.

The drill will include both the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Esmaili said, and follows a series of large-scale military simulations such as the "Great Prophet 7" missile exercises in July.

Israeli leaders' warnings that time is running out to halt Iran's controversial nuclear program have raised concern they may order an attack on Iranian nuclear sites, though Israel has come under growing international pressure not to act alone.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/iran-to-hold-major-air-defense-drill-to-simulate-emergency-situations-1.462051

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 05:30 AM

2. It seems a bit pointless in any event...

Israel is probably the only* country west of the Caucasus that has never participated in a war alongside the United States*, and it is equally unlikely to do so in any hypothetical situation that I can imagine.

The United States is probably better off holding joint exercises with El Salvador, who at least sent soldiers to Iraq.

* After prolonged nagging, Israel sent 7 technical advisors to Haiti during the American occupation of Haiti in the mid-90s. This is the only occasion of Israel sending support to the US in time of war.

* Yes there are probably a couple. Iceland, for example.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 08:00 AM

3. Did you read the DKOS article? nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 09:03 PM

8. I read it just now

It does seem plausible. I don't think Netanyahu would be dumb enough to launch a strike on Iran notwithstanding, but I think if he did and Obama won the election anyway, there would be hell to pay.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 09:23 PM

9. I've been expecting Obama to get more emphatic as the outcome of the election becomes clear.

I've been surprised right along that the Bibi & Co. have not been more diplomatic with Obama, very bad strategy. I can't think of another President things have got this frothy with. There have been Presidents that were not close with Israel, but nobody was baying at the moon like this about them.

But Obama is not likely to let it get very personal, he's not that sort of guy, so maybe they figure that in.

Bibi has a number of other reasons to be upset, but the long-running somebody-bomb-Iran drama is wearing pretty thin too, and it's awkward for him to say "never mind" now, so I can understand his frustration.

I would hope my government would behave in the way described, making it clear nobody is going to try to play puppet-master with us without consequences.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 3, 2012, 01:38 AM

11. maybe...

I would hope my government would behave in the way described, making it clear nobody is going to try to play puppet-master with us without consequences.


Hope away, but I don't think the right honourable members of the whorehouse on the hill are going to act any differently. I think part of the problem in the US system of government is that the buck stops with the president, but not with Congress, who being relieved of any real responsibility are free to act as expediently as they please.

I don't expect Obama to apply any real pressure on Israel, until perhaps after the next midterms, and even then, its a lose-lose for him. Traditionally, most presidents have tried their hand at Arab-Israeli peace once they have served out two terms and are more focused on their legacy than being elected, but even then they generally haven't bothered twisting Israel's arm much.

Another thing to add in the mix is the Iranian presidential elections in 2013. Ahmadinejad is unable to seek another term (just as in the US, two consecutive terms is the limit).

Its an interesting mix of candidates at the moment:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_presidential_election,_2013

The four main contenders would be:-

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei
Mohsen Rezaee
Manouchehr Mottaki
Mohammad-Ali Najafi

Essentially all of the candidates would be preferable to Ahmadinejad, and most if not all have been critical of his war of words with Israel.

You'd have to think that if Israel were going to strike, they would do so before the June 2013 elections and the departure of their favourite bogeyman.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Reply #11)

Mon Sep 3, 2012, 07:53 AM

12. In order:

"whorehouse on the hill" - That has a ring to it. You are correct. I see you do understand US politics. Now, if you also get that it is no accident that our weak President is responsible for everything and our omnipotent Congress for nothing, then you understand why the place is so disfunctional, and you begin to understand how fictional our public political drama really is. Everything done in public is scripted. But I'm sure you have some acquaintance with these sort of issues where you live.

Correct.

Yeah, Ahm-an-idjit is one of those enemies you know we are going to miss. He just looks the part. One wonders if he is going to go quietly? I suppose so. I've largely given up trying to make sense of Israel/Iran, we are clearly in the situation, to use a metaphor, of two troops of howler monkies going at it in the trees. And I just don't know how to make sense of the question: "when should Israel bomb Iran?" unless the answer is "never!"

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Response to bemildred (Reply #12)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 07:58 AM

14. Woodrow Wilson

was apparently an opponent of the elaborate system of checks and balances. He feared that if too many people held the levers of power, that the voters would not know whose arse to kick when everything went wrong. It seems true enough.

Mashaei is an interesting candidate, he is not a favourite of the supreme leadership, but he is high enough up the ladder (Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff) to be a difficult man to reject should he want to contest the presidency.

He's a Persian nationalist. Specifically, he is quite fond of romanticizing about Iran's pre-Islamic, Zoroastrian past, something which displeases the hardline conservatives in Iran.

There seems to be a growing trend in Iran for this sort of thing. Iranians are not oblivious to the fact that most Islamic countries are their enemies, and that their only friend (Syria) is the most secular country in the region, currently fighting for its existence against an Islamic opposition. This has increased the sense of nationalism and exceptionalism that Iranians feel about themselves, that they are the oldest surviving culture on Earth, that they are alone in the world, that they are the ancient seat of civilization, etc etc...

Elsewhere, we are seeing Islamic opposition movements triumphing over Nasserist, nationalist dictatorships - in Iran, we might be seeing the first steps of the same process, but in an opposite direction.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Reply #14)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 08:12 AM

15. Thanks for sharing that.

I'm not going to comment now, you open up some big subjects, there.

I will say that I think the current Iran regime would collapse in fairly short order if we stopped threatening them daily, would have been gone by now, really, had we not been so intent on punishing them for their disobedience in kicking the Shah out.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #15)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 07:27 PM

17. Had the Brits and US not toppled the Mossadegh government

then Iran probably would still be a functioning parliamentary republic today. Iranians have a lot to be resentful for.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 09:49 AM

4. As a rule

The US probably doesn't want Israeli troops involved in most of its current conflicts for political reasons (GW1 being a notable example).There are also a number of other issues with substantial. IDF deployments abroad.

As to the OP, I wouldn't necessarily read too much into it; I've had some experience with how military exercises can frequently be modified or reduced right to the last minute.

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Response to eyl (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 06:51 PM

5. The US will never want Israeli troops involved in any of its conflicts...

for precisely that reason. The moment they involve Israel is the moment they lose Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and probably Turkey as well. And this is precisely why the relationship with Israel is of zero strategic value to the US, intelligence sharing notwithstanding.

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Response to shaayecanaan (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 07:17 PM

6. By all means, keep trying to convince yourself Israel is of zero strategic....

...value to the USA.

A two-way street
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3851844,00.html

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Response to shira (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 08:46 PM

7. "Largest US aircraft carrier"

'Largest US aircraft carrier’


Bollocks. The moment a US aircraft takes off from Israel is the moment it is precluded from flying anywhere else.

What an altogether stupid article. It is so ridiculously overwrought that any reasonable point is lost in the ocean of hyperbole. Take this paragraph for instance:-

US forces were overly-involved in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but Israel mobilized its military, forcing a Syrian evacuation of Jordan, thus preventing a collapse of pro-US regimes, a setback to US national security, havoc in the Arab oil-producing countries and a blow to the US standard of living.


Its worth noting that Israel never intervened in the Black September conflict at all, although a panicking King Hussein was asking for help from any quarter. Eventually, the Syrian tank columns were beaten back by the Jordanian Air Force without any external assistance. The Syrian Air Force made no attempt to intervene.

The reason for this was that the Army was still nominally under the control of the pro-Soviet hardliner Salah Jadid, whereas the Air Force was aligned with the pragmatic Hafez al-Assad, then minister for defence and an opponent of the attack on Jordan. The events of 1970 led to a pro-Assad coup that left the Assads in control of Syria, a situation which has not changed since.

Even if the decision by the Syrian Air Force not to intervene was based on considerations of Israel and even if, had the Jordanian Air Force not been able to operate with impunity, the state of Jordan would not have been able to beat back the Syrian tanks - it is still ridiculous to surmise that this would have led to a domino-theory style collapse of pro-US regimes in the region. How exactly were the Syrian tanks going to topple the regimes of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain and Egypt?

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Response to shira (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 3, 2012, 03:23 PM

13. It's not that Israel is of "zero" strategic value...

It's that what value it has is made primarily by the fact potentially more useful states in the region are either hostile, politically unstable, or both (Iraq, for instance.)

Israel is basically the US' last choice of dates for the prom, but hey, the last choice said yes, so what the hell.

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 10:13 PM

10. News Analysis: U.S. slows Israel pace to foil Iran's nuclear plan

JERUSALEM, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Previous reports of tensions between the United States and Israel over how and when to deal with Iran's continued progress towards a nuclear weapon have, in the last couple of weeks, become very public and very sharp.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both agree that Iran can't be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons; however that's where the consensus ends.

Senior U.S. and Israeli officials have said that Israel and U.S. "clocks are ticking at a different speed," meaning the Israel likely deems it necessary to act militarily before the U.S. does. But lately the U.S. has been using both public statements and actions to get Israel to reset its watch.

One of the most vocal opponents to Israeli military action is Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last week that he won't be "complicit" if Israel decides to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-09/02/c_131822994.htm

I'm seeing this in a number of places now. Haaretz has one writer that thinks Obama is forcing Bibi to attack by making him feel more alone.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 09:54 AM

16. Interesting article, well worth a read (nt)

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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 08:46 PM

18. Analysis: Chastised Israel seeks way forward with U.S. over Iran

(Reuters) - Stunned by a rebuke from the United States' top general, Israel is preparing a climbdown strategy in its war of words over Iran's nuclear program, aware that its room for maneuver is shrinking rapidly.

Anxious to prevent any flare-up in the Middle East ahead of November elections, there is also a good chance that U.S. President Barack Obama will provide Israel with enough cover to avoid a loss of face, analysts say.

A burst of bellicose rhetoric over the last month led Western allies to fear that Israel was poised to launch a unilateral strike against Iran in an effort to hobble the Islamic Republic's contested nuclear facilities.

Convinced Iran is seeking the atomic bomb, Israeli leaders have warned of a possible Holocaust if Tehran is not stopped; but the saber-rattling clearly riled Washington, while failing to rally domestic public opinion behind a perilous war.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/04/us-israel-iran-idUSBRE8830QO20120904

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