US and Israeli forces to stage drill

2012-10-18 12:02

Washington - The United States and Israel are set to launch a major military exercise in a show of unity aimed at Iran, despite friction between American and Israeli leaders over how to counter Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The air defence drills, dubbed "Austere Challenge 2012", will unfold later this month and last about three weeks, with 3 500 US troops and 1 000 Israeli forces taking part, officers said on Wednesday.

"This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel," said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force Commander, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.

"This exercise will improve the co-operative missile defence of Israel and will promote regional stability and help ensure a military edge," Franklin told reporters in a teleconference.

But the drill is about more than missile defences.

The elaborate exercise takes place at a politically-charged moment, amid speculation about a possible Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran, a hotly-contested US presidential election weeks away and parliamentary polls expected in Israel within a few months.

Ballistic missiles worry

The drill's "scenario is to deal with threats from all fronts", Nuriel, the Israeli commander, told the same phone conference.

"Anybody can get any type of message he wants from this exercise. The fact we are practicing together and working together is a strong message by itself."

Although Israel faces rocket attacks out of Gaza and missile threats from Syria and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, the main worry for the Jewish state is Iran's growing arsenal of ballistic missiles.

In a report this year to Congress, the Pentagon warned that Iran's missiles could hit Israel and Eastern European countries, including an extended-range version of the Shahab-3 and a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2 000km.

The missile threat, combined with the crisis over Iran's disputed nuclear programme, prompted Israeli authorities in August to test a SMS public alert system designed to warn the population of an imminent attack.

In the works for two years, the joint exercise originally was scheduled for April but was postponed at Israel's request, without an official explanation.

Red lines

The drill highlights US-Israeli co-operation just as President Barack Obama seeks to deflect criticism from his Republican rival Mitt Romney, who has accused him of neglecting America's ally and rebuffing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama and Netanyahu disagree over the urgency of the perceived threat posed by Iran, with the US president favouring more time for diplomacy and international sanctions to rein in Tehran's uranium enrichment work.

Netanyahu has publicly aired his differences with the Obama administration over the Iran issue, scolding Washington for failing to set its own "red lines" that would trigger military action against Tehran.

The West believes Iran is secretly pursuing plans to develop a nuclear weapons capability, but Tehran insists its programme is designed purely for peaceful purposes to generate electricity.

  • nicolaas.vanschalkwyk.5 - 2012-10-18 12:22

    Iran would not stand a chance when these two countries start playing together

      tamlin.vanheerver - 2012-10-18 12:31

      Have you seen how small Israel is? Do you realise how many ballistic missiles Iran has? Both countries will lose heavily. I guarantee that Israel will make the first mistake by impulse, in a strike against Iran's nuclear power plant, within 12hours Iran will launch a massive missile strike at Israel to overwhelm their missile defences and pretty much destroy their country, Israel will be on high alert from their first strike and pick up the incomming missiles and launch the first of their many nuclear missiles at Iran... Both countries game over in less than 24 hours. The winner???? The Arab world because the deaths of thousands outweighs the final death of the Jewish people in the middle east, the Arabs occupy what was once Israel. The war is going to happen, its just a matter of which country says go first. Israel knows this, why do you think they are hesitant on a first strike? They cannot win this and they know it... You cannot win against an enemy that isnt afraid to die.

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 13:00

      Boom!!...they will use EM cannon...time for a new world order and out with the old backwards regimes...

      nicolaas.vanschalkwyk.5 - 2012-10-18 13:08

      Tamlin - please do not act stupid. Do you really think that the US will get involved in all this if they werent sure that they can win. Look what people said in 2003 about saddam husein that the US will never get to the capital and what happened???They did in like a week or something. Do not underestimate the US. I am not a fan of the US but do not underestimate them, I can guarantee you they have weapons and systems in place that will make your head spin if you found out

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 13:13

      @Nicolaas the US have been putting missiles down ventilation shafts(for the bunkers of Husseins men) in the desert the size of my arm from 1000s of KM away...what do you think they are capable of doing now...

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-10-18 13:14

      War is not funny, but I couldn't help to smile at an interview they had with Saddams Military Adviser. He was standing in front of the camera stating something like "we can categorically state that there are no US forces in Baghdad, and that our defenses are driving them back." Meanwhile in the background you could see the US tanks rolling into the city.

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 13:14

      @Tamy..the deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle.....***goose bumps***

      nicolaas.vanschalkwyk.5 - 2012-10-18 13:41

      Thats exactly my point bradley. Like I said I am no fan of the US but trust me do not underestimate their will and their military power. Let me ask you one question Tamlin, you ever seen an abrams tank????

      tamlin.vanheerver - 2012-10-18 14:16

      @nicolaas, a A1A tank, infact I have Mr. in action, but if you honestly think that a tank will win this war you are smoking crack. Don't be fooled by the old '91 Iraq war, Sadaam had a few old Scud missiles which it launched at Israel, and yes they hit Israel. The US will stay out of this, without a doubt, they've learnt their lesson in Iraq and Afghan, its a waste of time and money and lives. So Nicolaas did the US and its allies (ISAF) win the battle or win the war in Iraq & Afghan? Iran has probably a few thousand ballistic missiles that it is itching to use, not just 50 innacurate Scud missiles like Iraq had. This will be a short war, very short and very violent.

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 15:05

      Trust me the technology that will be used in this war we haven't even heard off or even imagined. Never mind the Abrahams tank. look to the stars is it a satellite; is it a meteore; no it........BOOOOOOM! to late

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 15:17

      Hey Tamy why don't you go live in Iran and enjoy all the freedom there I'm sure you would love

      nicolaas.vanschalkwyk.5 - 2012-10-18 15:34

      Tamlin - dont forget that the US has got ballistic missiles too. You know that they have stealth planes that can neutralize Iran's missiles in a matter of hours? You mention that israel is a small country, you do know that size doesnt always count right?

      ft.burhaak - 2012-10-18 17:57

      @nicolas.Im just curious,do you see a fight were it takes 2 to fight 1 as honourable?

      ft.burhaak - 2012-10-18 17:59

      @nicolas.Im just curious,do you see a fight were it takes 2 to fight 1 as honourable?why,what do you think will happen on a 1 on 1?

      nicolaas.vanschalkwyk.5 - 2012-10-18 20:12

      ft.burhak - No I dont call it honourable. Do you call it honourable when a country calls for another country to be wiped off the face of the earth?Do you call it honourable when Iran hangs 17 year old kids for being homosexuals???

      ft.burhaak - 2012-10-18 23:14

      @nicolaas.Every sovereign country has the individual right to impose laws upon its citizens as it sees fit,and any1 chosing to challege that right wij be violating the UN Charter,if that is still worth anything.Secondly dont u think Israel wud want to wipe Iran of the map if Iran continuosly,on a daily basis threatend to blow up Isreals nuke sites.Israel wants exclusive rights to nukes,whìch is a threat in itself.So now im going to pose the major question:Do you and your muscle flexing freinds think that starting WWW3 will settle your 'serious' concerns.I noticed alot of tuff talk here,but attack Iran,and im sure that u guys will be shocked back into reality.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-19 06:28

      Burhaak, every sovereign country must have a democratically elected government, and thereby have the right to impose laws suitable to its people.

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-18 12:25

    The message is easy to read - their only game is war!

  • hein.heine - 2012-10-18 12:28

    US and Israel are actually stupid, Iran can use this to their advantage to study the exercise....

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 13:25

    Iran should get a nuclear weapon fast. It is the only deterrent that will ensure that the hawks from both countries do not bomb their country!

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 13:29

      OH do know Israel have nukes right? why do you think they have not used it against Iran yet...because they have brains and consideration, hell the way you carry on. Israel should just put a massive crater over Iran but they won't RESPONSIBLE.....

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 13:49

      Talk about massively (deliberately?) missing the point of my argument! You clearly (deliberately) misread my post and are just using whatever enters the constraints of your mind to formulate an already prejudiced opinion ... Respond to what I write and not what you want to refute!

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 15:01

      You know for a person who uses big words your fore sight is short, how many times have Iranian leaders used the words like 'wipe' or 'exterminate' Israel off the face of the earth huh? Israel is only defending itself against extremist such as these...Iran would have made it easier for it self if their leaders were not such babies and get where I'm going with this? If my next door neighbour kept on hurling threats at me about killing me and my family I would personally put two bullets in between his eyes before he could do it.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 15:15

      Considering Israeli expansion, who is wiping who off the face of the earth? Yet it is Iran that has been threatened more time than I care to remember, if there's to be any kind of balance to the nutters running Israel, then Iran should develop her own weapons. You might not trust the Iranians, but I trust the Israelis even less!

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 15:41

      I do not trust the leaders of Iran, i'm sure Iranian people are wonderful and loving. Come on Fidel Israel has only ever responded to threats they have never made them.(well openly that is)

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 15:51

      The Iranians threatened "the regime occupying Israel", and not Israelis, like the apartheid regime or the Soviet regimes, which incidentally have both been wiped of the map. Both Russians and Afrikaners are still here today, besides the Iranians Mullahs are self-interested elites whose actions are perfectly explicable and rational with respect to their desire to pursue their own self-interest, which is survival and entrenching their power further, and not suicide, which is what would happen if they dared attack Israel.

      Larry - 2012-10-19 13:40

      Fidel, unlike unelected despotic regimes where the government is a distinct entity from the civilians of that country, democratic Israeli government and its citizens are a single entity. There is no 'regime' in Israel other than that elected by majority vote by Israeli citizens. This may be awkward for you to understand or comprehend, but it is otherwise known as democracy. Therefore, when Iran threatens Israel, it does not speak of the government, but of the Israeli people as a whole.

  • Sibusiso - 2012-10-18 14:36

    Human beings are sick, I just wish they all kill each other without contaminating the environment. I'm tired of war this war that, why can't people just sit and talk to settle their differences. I wish each and every solder that will be involved in this war dies. Maybe if some countries don't have military power we will get world peace. Go and kill each other without affecting the civilians who want to get on with their everyday life, like spending time with their families.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 15:06

      I wish everyone would throw away their weapons and live in peace. That way I could conquer the world with a butter knife, either that or make me world president for life and I promise to fix everything. Seriously though, an emergence of a multi polar world is what we can hope for, with China and Russia acting as a counter balance to western/US aggression that has gone on non stop since the end of WWII! We can see this counterbalance already in Syria where the humanitarian bombers are itching to drop their democracy loving bombs!

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 15:16

      "US/Western aggression" hahaha you make me laugh man, thank you. I got tears in my eyes but seriously though who are the people keeping their own citizens locked away from the world treating their woman like scum and lashing their children for wanting to talk to the opposite sex...who are the aggressors now but it will change in time...

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 15:42

      It seems that you have confused the issues. Lets clarify it for you and other self righteous morons. Iran's internal issues are their affairs. The Iranians can decide how to manage their social, political, economic issues regardless of what we think. They want a theocracy, or a democracy, or a military dictatorship is their business. When people write 'hahaha' after their own joke, I imagine the laughter as a mixed tone of mania and hysteria!

      bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-18 15:45

      I stopped reading at "Their affairs". This world is changing Fidel wether you like it or not people in Iran want freedom, all through out the ME they want freedom. Not living in fear due to punishments set out by their backwards boys(I wont call them men). They can not speak freely about this or they will be Killed etc etc. Who wouldn't want freedom Fidel. Why live under constant fear when life can be good. Its been 2000 years they deserve it. Moron

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-18 16:18

      I have no problem with those people wanting their freedoms, and what I have a problem with is western powers trying to speed up historic democratisation using bombs. Look how that has turned out in both Iraq and Afghanistan, with Libya still on the brink.. The west can have whatever political system they choose. The point is, so can we as Africans or Arabs. This is what I am fighting for – our inalienable right to self-determination – to freely decide our own destiny. Only an ideologue would argue that a western type of democracy is possible or even desirable in countries with very low socio economic development. It will be good to see the end of all dictatorships in the Middle East or the 3rd world, but the way forwards is through gradual reform. You cannot seriously believe the intervention of the west is going to achieve that.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-18 19:51

      fidel.mgogi you have once again won the argument and brought reason to a passionate debate..I applaud are a star!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-19 06:44

      Fidel, the failure in your own logic is in your own words. "The Iranians can decide how to manage their social, political, economic issues regardless of what we think. They want a theocracy, or a democracy, or a military dictatorship is their business." and "The west can have whatever political system they choose. The point is, so can we as Africans or Arabs." Point is, without a democratic freedom to choose a government, your Arabs and Africans live in slavery and in the absence of freedom comes poverty, lack of social development, and militant religion. While the free world is forging ahead, the third world is going backwards. This disparity cannot be sustained, and the only way is forceful democratisation.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-19 07:27

      Forceful democratisation is totalitarian in nature. Again it is our inalienable right to self-determine – to freely decide our own destiny. The west (especially Europe) despite what you believe was already in an advanced stage of social development, which happened inspite of democracy, when it introduced democratic institutions. Social development and democracy are not mutually exclusive!

      Larry - 2012-10-19 13:46

      Fidel, this is not a catch 22 conundrum. Again, you contradict yourself by stating " is our inalienable right to self-determine – to freely decide our own destiny". Unless you have not noticed, citizens of Iran (among many others) have been DENIED the 'inalienable right' to self determination etc etc. Forcing despotic regimes out of government is not only right, it is morally defensable. Slavery was abolished, yet many are not yet free.

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