Some Israeli security officials are trying to downplay the Pentagon’s decision to significantly scale back its participation in a US-Israeli military exercise, even though it was pretty clearly meant as a signal that Washington doesn’t support Israel’s march to war with Iran.
“Israel has no idea why the Americans decided to reduce the number of troops it will send to the drill,” one security official told the Jerusalem Post. “The ties between the US and Israeli armies are strong, and we would have known if the reduction had something to do with any tensions between Jerusalem and Washington.”
The exercise, scheduled to begin in September, will include only about 1,200 US troops, as opposed to the initially planned 5,000.
Other Israelis clearly see the move for what it is. “Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you,’” another senior Israeli military official told Time magazine.
“I think they don’t want to insinuate that they are preparing something together with the Israelis against Iran – that’s the message,” says Israeli analyst Efraim Inbar.
A rift has been growing between the administrations of Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu over whether to launch an unprovoked war of choice against Iran for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t even have.
“The US elections are in two months, and there is no doubt that President Barack Obama, if he is reelected, will make Netanyahu pay for his behavior,” said an Israeli security cabinet member. “It will not pass quietly.”