Israel ready to strike Iran without Washington’s approval?
17 January, 2012
Both American and Israeli officials say that the decision to postpone a massive joint missile drill scheduled for this spring has nothing to do with hostilities with Iran, although insiders suggest something quite the contrary.
The Austere Challenge 12 drill, originally scheduled for April 2012, was slated to be the largest missile drill ever conducted in cooperation between the US and Israel. A decision to put the drill on hold this week has thus prompted many to speculate as to why best buds America and Israel are having second-guesses.
“There were a variety of factors at play in this case, but in general, leaders from both sides believe that optimum participation by all units is best achieved later in the year,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain John Kirby said, reports Reuters.
Initial reports suggested that the decision was reached by both parties as they bide time to begin testing. The latest reports out of Israel, however, peg the decision as one made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu alone, with no insight out of Washington. According to those sources, Israel is upset that the US has acted hesitantly so far in its efforts with Iran, whom is believed to be working on a nuclear weapons program.
Israeli sources speaking anonymously to Debka, a Middle East military news outlet with strong connections to both the Israel and US intelligence communities, say that the decision to postpone the drill does not come as a joint agreement between Tehran and Washington, but is rather a decisions from Netanyahu himself who has become worried by America’s lack of aggression against Iran as of late.
The test, originally slated for this April, would put America’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile system in operating alongside its ship-based Aegis system and Israel’s own program to work with Arrow, Patriot and Iron Drone missiles. Both nations now put an estimated drill date sometime in later 2012.