US and Israel launch large-scale joint military exercises, sending message to Iran and others

The Unit­ed States and Israel will hold large-scale joint mil­i­tary exer­cis­es in Israel on Mon­day to show hos­tile pow­ers such as Iran that Wash­ing­ton can­not be dis­tract­ed by the war in Ukraine or the threat of Chi­na to mobi­lize large-scale mil­i­tary forces. has begun, a senior defense offi­cial said.

Juniper Oak 23 was “the most sig­nif­i­cant U.S.-Israeli exer­cise to date,” cit­ing a large num­ber of air­craft, exten­sive coor­di­na­tion with the Israel Defense Forces, and a com­plex live-fire component.

About 6,400 U.S. troops will join 1,100 Israeli troops for exer­cis­es with a total of 142 air­craft. Of these, 100 belong to the U.S. mil­i­tary, includ­ing four B‑52 bombers, four F‑35 fight­ers, 45 F/A‑18 Hor­net fight­ers and two MQ‑9 Reaper drones.

Six US ships, includ­ing a car­ri­er strike group, and six Israeli ships will also participate.

“Juniper Oak is a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary joint exer­cise that will increase inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with our part­ners in land, air, sea, space and cyber­space, improve our con­tin­gency capa­bil­i­ties, and define our com­mit­ment to the Mid­dle East.” .

Cit­ing the focus on Chi­na and the near­ly 100,000 troops in Europe sup­port­ing NATO and Ukraine, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial told NBC News: “This exer­cise shows that we are walk­ing. It means you can chew gum at the same time.”

“We have the capac­i­ty to move to oth­er high-pri­or­i­ty areas of respon­si­bil­i­ty to con­duct an exer­cise of this magnitude.”

The offi­cial said the exer­cise was not aimed at a spe­cif­ic coun­try, but that hos­tile forces in the region, such as Iran, would be warned.

“The scale of the exer­cise is rel­e­vant for any sce­nario and Iran can draw cer­tain con­clu­sions from it,” said the official.

“This is pri­mar­i­ly to test whether we can do some­thing of this scale with Israel against a range of threats. , I would­n’t be sur­prised if they fig­ured out what the two of us are capa­ble of.”

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