Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, January 16, 2012
The United States has cancelled a joint military exercise with Israel in a move some analysts are saying could represent a reluctance to support an attack on Iran.
“Israel and the United States have postponed a massive joint defense exercise, which was expected to be carried out in the coming weeks, in order to avoid an escalation with Iran,”reports Haaretz.
Although the United States has already sent 9,000 troops to Israel, a move described as a “deployment” rather than an exercise by US Commander Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc, the Austere Challenge 12 drill, intended to be a wargame response to missiles fired by Iran, has now been postponed until the summer.
The Obama administration cited “budgetary constraints” as the primary reason for delaying the exercise, although observers suggest the move could be explained by a number of different circumstances, including Washington’s anger at how last week’s assassination of Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, all but admitted to have been the work of the Israeli Mossad, was conducted so brazenly.
The postponement could signal that the US is backing off its support for an attack on Iran, but it could equally mean that the attack plans have already been finalized and that the drill was cancelled because it would have coincided with the actual start of hostilities.
“Did the U.S. cancel them to show displeasure to Israel?”asks Richard Silverstein. “And if so, why? Does Obama know something about Israeli intentions we don’t know? Are plans underway to strike Iran? Is Obama seeking to show his displeasure? Or is he trying to soothe Iran by not going through with a highly provocative military exercise which would’ve placed thousands of U.S. troops in the heart of Israel as a show of solidarity with Israel in its crusade against Iran?”
Whether or not the Obama administration has cooled its support for an attack on Iran, the US military is undoubtedly preparing for turmoil in the region, with three US aircraft carriers now stationed just outside Iranian waters, in addition to 15,000 troops that were sent to Kuwait at the end of last week.
The naval build-up could also be because “the United States intends to beat Israel to the draw and attack Iran itself,” points out DebkaFile.
Even if the Obama administration does not publicly back a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, it is highly unlikely to stand in the way of Israel. Once Iran retaliates, the US will then claim its interests are threatened and won’t hesitate to become embroiled in the conflict.
In addition, the US has made it clear that should Iran try to block the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil choke point, a “red line” will have been crossed. Iran is currently studying a letter sent by the US concerning the Strait. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Iran “will respond if necessary.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey is due to arrive in Israel on Thursday for talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other senior defense and intelligence officials, a meeting at which the US will try to convince Israel to delay any attack until sanctions, which have already crippled the Iranian economy, are allowed to take full effect.