Will President Joe Biden get a war for Christmas this year?
Tension between Iran and Israel continues to grow, and with the nuclear deal between Tehran and the West looking increasingly unlikely to be restored, further escalation might be a possibility but a joint military exercise in November seems like an attempt to pour fuel on a fire.
Israel and the United States conducted a joint aerial exercise that simulated attack scenarios against Iran and its allies in the Middle East while, Tehran and Washington continue to trade accusations about who is to blame for the deadlock in nuclear deal negotiations.
The Biden administration has imposed new sanctions on Tehran and expressed support for protesters, as the Iranian government aids Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
The Iranian population has protested the Islamic Republic, its law enforcement institutions, and its officials since public demonstrations began on September 16, 2022, triggered by the in-custody death of twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini who the “morality police” arrested for violating mandatory hijab laws.
Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog held a series of meetings with American officials in Washington at the Pentagon and the White House, to discuss “the focal points of the situation in the region,” said the Israeli army in a statement issued on November 22, 2022.
Kochavi also met twice in November with the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley.
Milley and Kochavi collaborated about strengthening cooperation between the Israeli and American militaries concerning such mutual regional threats as Iranian nuclear development.
“I would like to thank the governing authorities and senior members of the U.S. defense institutions for their partnership and support for the State of Israel and [Israel’s army],” Kochavi said.
“On the one hand, Iran is under many economic, military, and internal pressures, and on the other hand, it continues to promote its nuclear program. [Israel’s army] strongly promotes all operational plans against the Iranian threat,” Kochavi said.
After army chief Kohavi’s visit to the United States, fighter jets and refueling aircraft simulated long-range flights and ‘an operational scenario’ that simulated an attack against Iran.
The Israel Defense Forces published footage and details of a series of joint aerial exercises it held with the US military this week, simulating strikes against Iran and its regional terror proxies.
In a statement, the IDF said that during drills, which took place over Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, four IAF F-35i fighter jets, accompanied four American F-15 aircraft and an American KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, refueled several IAF F-16i fighter jets.
“The Intelligence Directorate conducted an extensive simulation that replicated a campaign against distant countries,” the IDF said, in an apparent reference to Iran. “This exercise tested the IDF’s abilities at gathering intelligence, researching and outlining targets, and making intelligence available to the operational forces.”
“These exercises are a key component of the two militaries’ increasing strategic cooperation in response to shared concerns in the Middle East, particularly those posed by Iran,” the IDF said.
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