Analysis: What’s behind joint US-Israeli military drills?

Analysis: What’s behind joint US-Israeli military drills?

On Sunday, the US and the Israeli regime have begun joint military drills with the presence of thousands of troops, with the declared aim being improving combat readiness of the two sides’ militaries for a joint regional conflict and also exploring ways to address possible missile attacks.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - On Sunday, the US and the Israeli regime have begun joint military drills with the presence of thousands of troops, with the declared aim being improving combat readiness of the two sides’ militaries for a joint regional conflict and also exploring ways to address possible missile attacks.

The drills, codenamed Juniper Cobra, include simulation of a scenario that leads to the American troops’ entry to Occupied Palestinian territories and jointly working to secure its airspace.

Reportedly, so far some 2,500 American military personnel and dozens of military vehicles have also been deployed to join the exercises. On the Israeli side, some 2,000 troops will also take roles.

Being the biggest in this year between Washington and Tel Aviv, the maneuvers are seen of great significance as they reportedly simulate a full-scale battle in which the Israeli regime comes under missile strikes from all of the fronts. The air defenses serving in the exercises include the Israeli-made Iron Dome as well as American Patriot anti-missile defense systems.

The military drills are scheduled to last for two weeks. The main part started from March 4 and will last until March 15, but the practices and training will last to the end of the month, according to sources familiar will the event.

Last month, the Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli air force’s fighter jet after it, together with other jets, carried out attacks into the Syrian territories. On the other side, the Syrian conditions for some time have been moving towards stability after seven years of devastating conflict. The two developments have sent into a spin the Israeli regime’s leaders who are now facing the presence of the Axis of Resistance forces close to their borders.

A set of developments have motivated the Israelis and the Americans to do military practicing:

1. Shift of Syrian war conditions to the advantage of the government of President Bashar al-Assad

2. Israeli-Lebanese gas field dispute and Tel Aviv’s lack of potentials to effectively address Hezbollah’s burgeoning missile power in case of war                    

3. Relocation of the American embassy to al-Quds (Jerusalem), set for May, which could trigger direct responses from Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.

4. Rising power of the Iran-led Axis of Resistance which honed its military skills after engagement in the anti-terror fight in Syria and also getting toehold near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In the recent years, Washington and Tel Aviv held military drills several times, including in October 2016, July 2016, and January 2017, all of which focused on exploring ways to obtain the readiness to confront Resistance camp’s rockets which now have in their range the whole Israeli territories.

Certainly, the drills aims is to fix the flaws the Patriot and the highly costly Iron Dome air defense systems are grappling with. The two anti-missile systems declined to deliver successful performance record in the face of not-so-complicated rockets fired by Hamas in the Gaza Strip into the Israeli cities in the past wars.

Another important factor driving the drills is the recent downing of Israeli F-16 fighter jet by Syria’s anti-aircraft systems which marked a dramatic change in the balance of terror between the Resistance front and the Israeli regime. In fact, the Israeli leaders are nightmarishly coming up with the reality that the image of their much-vaunted air superiority in the region, which has always been promoted as Tel Aviv’s trump card in the face of Damascus and Hezbollah, has vanished following the downing of their fighter. Now they are well aware that power scale have tiped in favor of the Axis of Resistance.

From another aspect, Israelis have been supporting the stumbling terrorist groups to perpetuate the crisis in Syria through repeated airstrikes on Syria’s military and civilian targets under the pretext of preventing Tehran from building military bases in the war-ravaged country. So, through the joint drills, Americans want to send a message of supporting the Israeli struggles to face the Iran's alleged aim of establishing military presence in Syria.

Last week, Fox News claimed Iran plans to set up military bases and arms factories inside Syria. The New York Times also joined the propaganda war, publishing details of satellite images about the so-called Iranian base in Syria. The American newspaper noted that the base appears to be near the capital Damascus and is home to rockets capable of hitting anywhere in the Israeli regime. As the drills began, the Israeli Prime Minister traveled to the US, where he will discuss with President Donald Trump the Iranian military presence in Syria.

All in all, the security concerns of Tel Aviv have crucially motivated the half-month military drills. Still, the exercises are highly an exhibitionist gesture because with a large number of ready-to-launch missiles and military bases across Syria and Lebanon that have occupied Palestinian territories' under their full cover, even with the US help, Tel Aviv regime cannot effectively counter the possible strikes.




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