Scores of missiles from Iran and hundreds from Syria — the nightmare scenario that's prompted a joint military drill by Israel and the United States to be held in October, when the results of the sanctions against Iran are supposed to become clear. About 3,000 American soldiers and thousands of Israeli soldiers will take part in the exercise.
Lt.-Gen.Craig A. Franklin, commander of the United States’ 3rd Air Force in Europe, visited Israel as part of the preparations for the drill. In addition, a joint supervisory body was set up for both armed forces, and it has begun to plan the most extensive maneuvers ever conducted by both countries to date. The major task is to test Israel’s defense against missiles. Israel will test its upgraded Arrow 2 defense system, its main improvement being earlier detection of missile launchings. The Americans will deploy its Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and PAC-3 Patriot air defense platforms as safety nets in the event that the upper-tier systems do not succeed in intercepting missiles from Iran.
The emphasis in this exercise is on the ballistic threat; military officials noted that this sends a clear message to Iran, which threatens an extensive assault on Israel if its nuclear facilities are attacked. Additional scenarios will be taken into consideration during the drill, on the background of recent changes in the Middle East: the events in Syria, the strengthening of Hezbollah and an increase in the rocket supplies of the terrorist organizations in Gaza. Some analysts have nicknamed the exercise a “dress rehearsal” for a potential military conflict that might ensue in Israel, such as an Iranian retaliation after its nuclear facilities are attacked. Military sources noted that this exercise has great importance, and that it will also include lower-level defense systems such as the Iron Dome and Magic Wand.
The highly regarded Business Insider Internet site publicized an extensive article on Sunday under the dramatic title, “How Israel and the United States are planning a possible assault on Iran.” The article lists important military steps taken recently by both countries, steps that could be construed as preliminary actions for a military operation in Iran. The site makes special mention of an unusual contract recently signed between the Pentagon and the Raytheon company, producer of the famous Tomahawk cruise missiles carried by submarines and ships. The Pentagon paid $338 million for the most advanced models of 361 Tomahawk missiles. The Tomahawk is known for its long-range capabilities, its precision and its large warhead that can cause great damage even to seemingly impregnable targets. The American navy also recently ordered 17 thousand sonar buoys for pinpointing the location of enemy submarines.
Business Insider notes the IDF’s acquisition of a fourth Dolphin-class submarine. According to foreign reports, this submarine has exceptional abilities in launching long-range cruise missiles. Some of the articles that tried to forecast an Israeli attack on Iran point to the possibility of an integrated strike using three arms: assault planes, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles from submarines.
In addition to the fact that the American and Israeli armed forces are in the process of getting new supplies, Business Insider made note of the “United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012” that passed the House of Representatives last month. Former CIA officer and counter-terrorism/military intelligence specialist Phillip Giraldi called the law “a blank check" at the expense of the American taxpayer, whose goal is to maintain Israel’s "qualitative military edge" over all its neighbors.
Reuters recently published news from a high-placed Israeli official who claimed that Prime Minister Netanyahu already made the decision to launch an assault on Iran before the American presidential elections in November. According to the report, Netanyahu hopes that this will make the Americans understand that the Israeli operation is unavoidable and to join it in order to ensure that the assault will be effective.