Thousands of American troops are being sent to Israel

Have U.S. troops ever been deployed, for any purpose, in Israel? I am not aware of it. But now they have been.

The following article from DebkaFile, January 6, repeatedly states that the purpose of the deployment is to prepare for a joint U.S.-Israel attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, e.g, “The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear installations or any war emergency.” However, such statements appear to come only from DebkaFile, not from any official sources.

Following the article, see a comment from a reader at Israpundit that puts a sinister construction on the deployment, namely that its real purpose is not to mount a joint defense against Iran, but to put Israel in an even tighter U.S. embrace, preventing it from defending itself.

(The article has been edited slightly for spelling.)

Thousands of U.S. troops began descending on Israel this week. Senior U.S. military sources told debkafile Friday, Jan. 6 that many would be staying up to the end of the year as part of the U.S.-IDF deployment in readiness for a military engagement with Iran and its possible escalation into a regional conflict. They will be joined by a U.S. aircraft carrier. The warplanes on its decks will fly missions with Israeli Air Force jets. The 9,000 U.S. servicemen gathering in Israel in the coming weeks are mostly airmen, missile interceptor teams, marines, seamen, technicians and intelligence officers.

The incoming American soldiers are officially categorized as participants in Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint U.S.-Israeli war game ever held.

The maneuver was originally designated Juniper Stallion 2012. However, the altered name plus the comment heard from the exercise’s commander, U.S. Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, during his visit two weeks ago, that the coming event is more a “deployment” than an “exercise,” confirmed that Washington has expanded its mission. The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear installations or any war emergency.

Our sources disclose that it was decided at the last minute in Washington and Jerusalem to Announce the forthcoming Austere Challenge 12 on Thursday night, Jan. 5, ahead of the bulletin released by Tehran about another Iranian naval exercise at the Strait of Hormuz to take place in February, although its 10-day drill in the same arena only ended Monday, Jan. 2.

The early release was decided in consultations among U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the two army chiefs, U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

British Defense Minister Phillip Hammond, on a visit to Washington, was brought into the discussion.

The handout circulated to U.S. correspondents from Hammond’s talks in the U.S. capital affirmed that Britain stands ready to strike Iran if the Strait of Hormuz is closed.

However, that phrase was omitted from the British minister’s remarks at a news conference, following a last-minute request from Panetta, signifying the Obama administration’s interest of keeping a low profile on plans for attacking Iran.

Tehran too is walking a taut tightrope. It is staging military’s maneuvers every few days to assuring the Iranian people that its leaders are fully prepared to defend the country against an American or Israeli strike on its national nuclear program. By this stratagem, Iran’s ground, sea and air forces are maintained constantly at top war readiness to thwart any surprise attack.

The joint U.S.-Israeli drill will test multiple Israeli and U.S. air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets, according to the official communiqué.

debkafile’s military sources add that they will also practice intercepting missiles and rockets coming in from Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It will not be the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier docks in Israel for joint operations with the Israeli Air Force. On June 9, 2010, the USS Truman dropped anchor opposite Israel to test a joint deployment against Iran and its allies. The carrier and its air and naval strike force then staged joint firing practices with the Israeli Air Force over the Negev in the South.

Washington and Jerusalem are doing their utmost to present a perfectly synchronized military front against Iran: American officers are stationed at IDF command centers and Israeli officers posted at the U.S. European Command-EUCOM. At the same time, debkafile’s military sources disclose that full consensus has not been reached on every last particular of shared operation against Iran, should one go forward.

[end of DebkaFile article.]

About this joint deployment, a commenter at Israpundit writes:

I cannot shake the uneasy feeling that Obama has a hidden agenda. As long as Iran does not attack Israel or close the Straits of Harmuz Obama could tie Israel’s hands. He can claim that Israel is sufficiently protected with U.S. help and must now refrain from pre-empting Iran. Israel may now be too closely tied to the U.S. to act alone.

After Iran gets the bomb Israel will need the U.S. even more thus giving Obama more leverage over Israel. If Israel now refuses to cede land to the Palestinians he could threaten to remove U.S. protection and expose Israel to a nuclear armed Iran. This is what happens when we have Israeli leaders who fear Obama more than they fear G-d.

- end of initial entry -

JA writes:

Pre 9/11 it was common to have two Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) operating at any given time. One unit was from the East Coast and one from the West. Each MEU consisted of many thousand Marines and sailors. Each MEU had regular exercises they conducted with the same group of host countries. Each deployment lasted approximately six months.

The MEU from the East Coast typically leaves Norfolk in March and September. I was part this MEU twice. The first time we were on the typical schedule and we did several exercises with host countries including Israel. Now, I certainly wouldn’t call this deploying troops, but the time could just be favorable to a regular exercise. It probably would have been around this time of year. We had Marines on the ground for probably over three weeks. One of those weeks, we spent docked at the port in Haifa with no duties other than to enjoy the city without ruining relations with the two countries. The rest of the time we were out doing military exercises with IDF.

The second deployment was post 9/11.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 08, 2012 05:37 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):