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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Barak asked for exercise cancellation?

According to 'Pentagon sources' cited by Jeffrey Goldberg, it was Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and not the United States, that asked for the postponement of Operation Austere Challenge 12, the joint anti-missile exercise that was to have taken place in Israel in April (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Despite claims made in the Israeli press that the Obama Administration, worried about provoking Iran, initiated a postponement of a massive joint Israeli-U.S. missile defense exercise scheduled to begin later this month, Pentagon officials say it was the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, who asked his counterpart, Leon Panetta, for the postponement. The claim that the exercise, dubbed "Austere Challenge 12," was scrubbed from the calendar because the Obama Administration feared provoking the Iranian regime is "baseless," one senior Pentagon official told me just a few minutes ago, in a telephone call initiated by a group of senior defense officials.

One of the senior defense officials told me this: "Minister Barak called Secretary Panetta and asked if we could take the exercise off the calendar. The Israelis were concerned that they did not have the resources in place to carry it out effectively." The exercise, which was to begin with a live-fire drill, would have involved several thousand Israelis as well as several thousand American military personnel, and Barak told Panetta, according to these officials, that Israel could not pull together the resources necessary to stage the exercise successfully. "Our military is much bigger than theirs and this exercise was going to consume a much larger portion of their resources," the official said.

Panetta, according to these Pentagon sources, was concerned that the Iranians would interpret the scrubbing of the exercise, well, the way it's currently being interpreted, as a sign of American wavering in the face of Iranian threats. He told Barak that he would not agree to a cancellation, as Barak was suggesting, but only a postponement. "Panetta's initial reaction was, 'I don't want to take this off the calendar.' He said it would send the wrong signal." After multiple conversations, Panetta and Barak agreed to postpone Austere Challenge 12 until fall.
As of now, there has been no comment from Israel.

Frankly, I find this one hard to believe even if live Pentagon sources told this to Goldberg. It makes no sense to me that Israel would try to cancel the drill.

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At 1:15 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Unless the "drill" requires intrusive IT connection... There is absolutely no telling what is going on behind the scenes... Hmmm....

At 2:47 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Reading it again, there's something else. If $$ was the problem, all they had to do was scale it into something smaller, rather than canceling it or even delaying it publicly. I wouldn't skewer Ehud Barak with this because heaven only knows what is actually going on.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

This is like the divorce of two actual celebs: Katie the singer asks her hubby, the comedian, to say HE divorced HER, not the other way round, as she did not want to have to admit to it! Is Barak doing Obysmal's dirty work??


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