It sounds like the 2012 Netanyahu-led anti-Obama campaign got ahead of the administration when framing this story. Obama wants to defuse tensions with Iran and the Pentagon is hamstrung by budget cuts — the GOP candidates are going to love this one.
Ynet reports: A major joint Israel-US military drill, which was set to take place in a few weeks time with the participation of thousands of IDF and US army soldiers, has been postponed by at least six months, Ynet reported Sunday
The decision was made by Defense Ministry officials in coordination with the Pentagon.
A number of global media outlets said the exercise will likely take place in the summer – at the earliest.
Israeli officials said the Americans asked to delay the drill so as not to heighten tensions with Iran over its nuclear program and avoid draw any additional attention from the Arab countries during such a turbulent period.
Security establishment officials said the decision was also related, in part, to budgetary concerns.
The decision to postpone the drill comes after the US condemned last week’s assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran and after US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the recent developments in the Islamic Republic.
Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet’s military analyst, said Washington is looking to defuse tensions in the region following Iran’s military exercise in the Strait of Hormuz and the raid by Iranian protesters on the British Embassy in Tehran.
The Americans also hope the economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran will force it to engage in talks over its nuclear program, he said.
According to Ben-Yishai, the decision to delay the drill is also related to financial concerns. Washington has cut its defense budget for 2012 by $450 billion dollars – a move which is aimed at helping the US tackle its national debt, which has affected the country’s credit rating.
During the drill, which just a few days ago was dubbed as the largest drill joint US-Israel exercise ever, the countries were set to test air-defense capabilities, as well as test-fire new missiles.