Israeli-American relations have been strained over the past couple of years, more specifically relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. There has been talk of Netanyahu’s hopes for Romney to win the presidential election. Obama’s apprehension in supporting Israel against Iran has created a strained relationship, however, in recent news the Obama administration has agreed to launch a military cooperation with Israel. Many speculators wonder if Obama has decided to launch the military program in order to one up Romney or if it is in the United States best interest to assist their ally Israel in a time of need.
In the past Netanyahu has had a strained relationship with Obama, due to Obama’s inability to commit to acting against Iran, but it seems as though there is now a clearer line. Obama has decided to launch a joint military drill with Israel. Netanyahu is known to be a strong supporter of Mitt Romney due to their mutual aversion against Iran, but now that Obama has committed to this program, it is possible that the tables have turned. Both countries have made it very clear that the military program is by no means in relation to the Iranian drone shot down in Israel a week ago, and have stated that the start up of this program is solely to strengthen military operations in Israel and to further positive relations with the U.S.
The three-week joint military operation, also known as Austere Challenge 2012, involves 3,500 U.S. troops and 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Of the 3,500 U.S. soldiers involved, around 1,000 will be stationed in Israel, while the rest will operate in Europe and the Mediterranean. The average cost of the program is $38 million with the Obama Administration supporting $30 million (Aljazeera).
“This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel,” said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.
It seems that this military operation is not solely for missile defense but is also politically charged. The timing just seems all too perfect, as there is talk about a possible Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran. In addition, the U.S. presidential election is just weeks away and parliamentary polls in Israel are in few months. You have to wonder where the motives of each country lie. Could this be president Obama pushing for more votes against Romney, or does Obama genuinely want to protect Israel from future attacks?
Sources: Aljazeera.com & TheNewYorker.com