October 18, 2012 1 Comment
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 18, 2012
The U.S. and Israeli armies will play war games during the largest joint maneuvers for a period of three weeks with thousands of military troops from both countries training on details for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Part of the group of U.S. forces that will intervene in Austere Challenge 12 are already in Israel, waiting for the go to start their military exercises. No army sources have confirmed when will the drills start and it is likely that the world will only know once the exercise is on the way.
The reserve with which both countries address the issue is due to the fear that the maneuvers are misinterpreted by Iran. There is also a danger that this exercise, or parts of it turn into an ‘accident’ that may spark conflict among the three countries, with the US and Israel on one side and Iran on the other.
“Austere Challenge 12 includes theoretical scenarios, not related to actual events in the world,” he Lt. General Craig Franklin, in a teleconference with reporters. Franklin is a commander of the U.S. Air Force in Europe, and he will arrive next week to Israel to head the operation.
In a message transmitted by both militaries, commanders in charge of the exercise have categorically denied information that “AC12″ will simulate an attack with thousands of rockets that Iran may conduct against Israel and its allies in the region, which would be aided by Hezbollah and Hamas.
However, this is the very same scenario that Israel can expect if prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu gives the order to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. The action, which has not had public support from the United States, and that has been labeled as suicide by former and current members of the intelligence community, has been limited to verbal threats made by Israel and contested by Iran.
Israeli Brigadier General Nitsan Nuriel, explained that the exercises provide for a scenario of “threats on all fronts,” and that “everyone can draw their own conclusions.”
“It is a clear message that we work together and that together we can achieve more and, from there, each draws their own conclusions,” he explained while trying to respond questions about the scope of the exercise.
More than a thousand U.S. military will participate in the maneuvers conducted from Israeli territory and another 2,500 will do it from bases in Europe and warships in the Mediterranean, with a total cost of about $ 30 million (23.5 million euros) for the U.S. taxpayers.
“When completed, all U.S. troops will leave Israel,” said Lt. Gen. Franklin, which “should eliminate conjectures that warn about an armed build up to attack Iran.”
AC12 will be held in the utmost secrecy, which has many intelligence analysts wondering if this will be the base for a future attack on Iran. Neither the US not Israel have revealed dates or locations about an exercise that intends to play out a scenario where anti-aircraft systems will turn into an ‘umbrella’ to protect Israel in the event of an attack. All similarities to a real life situation will of course be ‘coincidental’.
At the epicenter of the drills are the Aegis ballistic missile system and U.S. Patriot missiles, to which Israel will incorporate its Arrow anti-missile batteries and Iron Dome radar system.
The latest air defense exercise was “Juniper Cobra” in 2010, but technological advances made it necessary to recalibrate the systems for both armies, military sources have said. Among the new systems to be used in AC12 are the new Israeli Patriot and Iron Dome, which were not fully operational two years ago.
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