UPDATE: U.S. Puts Off Joint Maneuvers with Israel

I think we’re seeing some serious distancing by the Obama administration from Israel’s provocations and possibly some serious interest in engagement with Iran, although the latter may be too hopeful a conclusion to reach.

CNN is reporting this afternoon that Washington has postponed what were supposed to be the joint missile defense maneuvers with Israel in recent years:

The U.S. military has postponed planned military exercises with Israel ahead of a scheduled visit by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. and Israeli officials said Sunday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey’s trip to Israel this week comes amid growing international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program its threats to close the Strait of Hormuz to international shipping. Citing unnamed security officials, Israel’s Army Radio reported Sunday that holding the maneuvers at such a sensitive time could potentially result in unwanted headlines.”

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the exercise had been put off until later in 2012, though the official did not know the reason for the delay.

This would be a very powerful message to Tel Aviv (and Tehran), and it’s worth noting that it follows the Obama-Netanyahu conversation last Thursday that I alluded to in my last post.

It is understood here that Gen. Dempsey stated his concerns about the possibility of an Israeli attack directly to Obama some time in the last two weeks and came away dismayed at what he saw as the president’s rather passive reaction at the time. It may now be that the escalating tensions over the Strait of Hormuz, combined with the administration’s anger over both the false flag operation and last week’s murder of the Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, has persuaded the administration to take a much more assertive stance.

Moreover, there are growing indications of serious efforts to engage Iran on the nuclear issue, including Tehran’s agreement to host an IAEA delegation and stories about Washington’s communicating with Tehran through intermediaries (allegedly to make sure Iran understood what U.S. “red lines” in the Gulf were, but also possibly to demonstrate greater seriousness in resolving the nuclear file). The assumption for the past week or so here has been that there will be another P5+1 meeting with Iran by the end of this month or early next.

It’s important in that context to recall the timing of the assassination of nuclear scientist Majid Shariari and attempted assassination of his colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, on the same day, November 29, 2010, and its coincidence with a planned P5+1 meeting the following week. While expectations for that meeting were not running especially high (Ahmadinejad was being harshly attacked by opposition factions for the Oct 1 agreement “in principle” on the P5+1’s swap proposal), Tehran had reportedly agreed on or about November 26 to hold the meeting in Geneva December 6-7. Despite the assassination three days later, Iran, which charged at the time that the attacks were aimed at derailing the P5+1 talks, went ahead with the meeting whose results, however, were inconclusive. Now, 13 months later, another Iranian nuclear scientist is killed just as Tehran agrees to receive a high-level IAEA delegation amid what appears to be an intensification of diplomatic activity that most observers believe is designed to lay the groundwork for another P5+1 meeting.

There seems to be a pattern here, and it’s one that suggests that whoever was responsible for last week’s assassination is trying very hard to reduce the chances that the P5+1 and Iran can reach a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear program.

Perhaps the administration is now persuaded that failure to reach such a solution is very likely to lead to war, and that the time has come to get serious with the spoiler. Cancelling much-anticipated military exercises on missile defense no less, particularly during the current election season, would seem to indicate a degree of seriousness on the administration’s part. I would imagine that Gen. Dempsey has a very stern message to convey.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time.

    Expose the wicked intentions the Zionist regime and the Obama administration have in mind of igniting a war in the Persian Gulf. The phrase these misanthropes hate most nowadays is called FALSE FLAG since ordinary people are becoming aware of its meaning.

    Israeli submarines deployed in the Sea of Oman will sink an American warship that happens to be navigating close to the Strait of Hormuz – an attack to subsequently be blamed on Iran. Most likely one of these Zionist submarines (Type 800 Dolphin class) is already operating in the Sea of Oman:
    INS Dolphin
    INS Livyathan
    INS Tekumah

    Another plausible way by which Israel and America could justify a war against the Islamic Republic of Iran is by staging another FALSE FLAG ATTACK on continental United States: a controlled nuclear explosion (dirty bomb) targeting a major urban concentration that may kill dozens of thousands of civilians. This operation will be carried out by the CIA in partnership with Israel’s Mossad and British MI6 to subsequently be blamed on elements of Iran’s IRGC.

    Educate the masses about the meaning of FALSE FLAG operations.

  2. I think you give Obama too much credit. Geitner was in China last week urging their government to reduce its oil imports from Iran. Ain’t gonna happen! More likely, China left Geitner in no doubt that an attack on Iran by the U.S./Israeli regimes would result in China’s dumping of the one trillion dollars worth of U.S. Treasuries they presently hold over a very short time frame and that was the real reason for Obama’s change of heart.

    There are many currents flowing through this issue, right now, to wit, Zbignew Brzezinski’s criticism on today’s MSNBC morning show of the murder of the Iranian scientist, to quote, ‘We know who did it’ (meaning the Israelis). Add to that his dismay that, ‘Congress has had far too much to say on this issue and, influenced as it is by lobbyists (and we know that means AIPAC) it has forced Obama’s hand by passing some truly draconian measures on Iran.

    Brzezinski IS the Foreign Policy establishment in the U.S. Couple with that the fact that ‘insider’ Bob Woodward echoed the sentiment and you have the current Washington thinking on the matter. Something has Washington spooked, for sure. Maybe calmer minds will prevail?

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