As if an intense proxy war with nuclear powerhouse Russia isn’t bringing enough heat, the Biden White House has now given the greenlight for unprecedented U.S. participation in an Israeli drill simulating a massive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
According to The Times of Israel, “The U.S. Air Force will serve as a complementary force, with refueling planes drilling with Israeli fighter jets as they simulate entering Iranian territory and carrying out repeated strikes.” The mock attack on Iran will happen this month, as part of a broader Israeli military exercise called “Chariots of Fire.”
The US Air Force is joining apartheid Israel to do military exercises simulating entering Iranian territory and launching airstrikes.
The US and Israeli militaries are blatantly threatening Iran with war.https://t.co/j8upZD96FR
— Benjamin Norton (@BenjaminNorton) May 17, 2022
In September, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said the IDF had “greatly accelerated” preparations for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“Dozens of Israeli air force fighter jets are expected to take part in the exercise and fly hundreds of miles from Israel to the west above the Mediterranean in a way that simulates a flight route to Iran,” reports Axios. General Michael Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, landed in Israel on Tuesday to observe the exercises.
Though there’s no indication of an imminent real-world strike, U.S. participation in the drill is an implicit endorsement of an Israeli-initiated war of aggression—and a signal that the United States might not only agree to it, but participate.
If so, it wouldn’t be the first time USAF tankers facilitated aggression in the region: Before a halt was announced in 2018, American tankers controversially aided Saudi strikes in Yemen. In addition to directly killing civilians—including 131 men, women and children gathered at a 2015 wedding celebration—the Saudi campaign has plunged Yemen into one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.
To the Quincy Institute’s Trita Parsi, the hawkish participation in the Israeli drill is a “puzzling” extension of a pattern, as Biden perpetuates an aggressive Trump-like posture toward Iran that Biden previously condemned:
“Biden heavily criticized former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and opposed his ‘maximum pressure’ strategy seeking to force Iran to capitulate by crushing its economy through unprecedented sanctions. Yet, 18 months into his presidency, Biden has yet to shift away from Trump’s sanctions policy.”
The saber-rattling move by Biden comes as talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are stalled. A key sticking point: Iran wants the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps removed from the list of designated—and sanctioned—terrorist organizations.
As with sanctions, Biden’s intransigence on the IRGC designation represents another hypocritical embrace of Trump policy. Parsi notes that, in 2017, current Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing that such a designation by the Trump administration would needlessly escalate tensions.
But hey, whether it’s Ukraine or Iran, ditching honest diplomacy in favor of nerve-racking brinksmanship seems to be the Biden administration’s trademark.
Sure, it pushes us deeper into the threshold of World War III. On the other, as Biden’s approval rating has just reached yet another a new low, at least it helps keep our mind off surging price inflation, baby formula shortages and an economy that’s teetering along the edge off the abyss.
Maybe that’s the point.