May 16, 2012
The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shaprio, told a closed conference in Tel Aviv that the United States has completed preparations for a military strike on Iran. His comments were recorded by a reporter and aired on Israel’s Channel 2 TV on Wednesday night.
Daniel Shaprio (center) sat on the NSC as senior director for the Middle East before Obama appointed him ambassador to Israel.
“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically, and through the use of pressure, than to use military force,” Shapiro said. “But that does not mean that option isn’t available. Not just available, it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”
Shaprio’s comments were not intended for public consumption, the Times of Israel reports.
The finalized attack plan arrives as Israel and the United States prepare for joint military exercises in the United States. “The exercises, to be held in the coming months, will strengthen the relationship between the IAF and the US Air Force as they practice carrying out joint operations,” the Jerusalem-based online newspaper reported. “Israeli and US air defense forces are also to take part in a major joint drill later this summer in Israel to simulate a massive attack. Thousands of US soldiers are expected to arrive in Israel for the drills.”
In January, the Stars and Stripes reported that the exercise in Israel – billed as the largest ever conducted by the two countries – is not related to tensions with Iran, according to the U.S. European Command. The long-planned exercise is “part of a routine training cycle designed to improve the interoperability of our air defense systems, and not in response to any real-world event,” said EUCOM spokesman Air Force Capt. John Ross.
“It’s a classified exercise, and we can’t release even small details about it,” Ross explained in an email to the Department of Defense newspaper.
“Austere Challenge ’12″ was originally scheduled for April, but postponed by Obama.
“U.S. participation in such an exercise, obviously geared to a scenario involving an Iranian retaliation against an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, would have made the United States out to be a partner of Israel in any war that would follow an Israeli attack on Iran,” Gareth Porter and Jim Lobe reported in January.
“Obama and U.S. military leaders apparently decided that the United States could not participate in such an exercise so long as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to give the administration any assurance that he will not attack Iran without prior approval from Washington.”
On March 8, the Israel Insider reported that Netanyahu had struck a deal with the United States.
“The US will supply Israel with bunker-busting bombs and refueling planes in return for delaying a strike against Iran until at least the end of the year,” the website reported, citing Maariv, a Hebrew language daily newspaper published in Israel. In short, the long planned strike on Iran will occur after the November election in the United States.
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