In a move that was announced to be an alarm sign for ‘Iran and others’, Israel began holding a massive military drill with the United States on Monday.
In a move to show that bilateral relations with Washington is still strong, Israel kicked off a massive joint military exercise the United States on this Monday morning.
According to Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, the purpose of the military drill code name Juniper Oak 23, which is held in Israel, is “to show adversaries like Iran that Washington is not too distracted by the war in Ukraine and the threat from China to mobilize a large military force.”
Juniper Oak 23 is “the most significant exercise between the United States and Israel to date,” Gen. Kurilla said, citing that the 5-day- long drill, which will run from Monday through Friday, includes enormous number of aircraft flying over Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, extensive coordination with the Israel Defense Forces, and the complicated live-fire component.
The drill is the biggest ever carried out by the two as about 6,400 U.S. personnel have joined 1,100 Israeli personnel for the exercise, which will employ 142 total aircraft. Of them, 100 aircraft are from the U.S. military, including four B-52 bombers, four F-35 fighter jets, 45 F/A-18 Hornet fighters and two MQ-9 Reaper drones. Six U.S. ships, including a carrier strike group, and six Israeli ships will also take part in the military exercise.
Although the US official noted that the exercise is not meant to specifically threaten anyone country, it will surely send a strong message to regional adversaries like the Islamic Republic of Iran. “The scale of the exercise is relevant to a whole range of scenarios, and Iran may draw certain inferences from that,” Kurilla explained.
What makes Juniper Oak 23 different is that it is all-domain, meaning that it includes naval, land, air, space and electronic warfare exercises. In the end, the question that comes to mind is that whether Israel be able to materialize attacks on Iran or not.
Israel unlikely to be able to attack Iran
There is a dominant literature going on among many politicians in Israel that it must attack Iran’s nuclear sites before it before Iran could make a nuclear bomb.
In this regard, for example, Israel’s outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz said this past December that the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) could attack Iranian nuclear sites in two or three years. “In two or three years, you may be traversing the skies eastward and taking part in an attack on nuclear sites in Iran,” Gantz said in unusually explicit comments about a possible timeline for such attack against Iran.
But despite what Gantz and other pro-war Israeli officials say about Israel’s ability to attack Iran, many inside Israel warn about the implications of such warmongering desires. An op-ed published in Haaretz, for instance, says that “bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities is effectively equivalent to starting a war. The implications of such a decision are liable to be dramatic and painful for the entire Israeli public.”
Likewise, a Jerusalem Post’s editorial notes that the “decision on whether to strike Iran must remain in the hands of Western powers…. We must repeatedly stress that Israel must not carry out an overt strike against Iran. The issue is complex and the risks are so great that Israel cannot assume them”.