The United States has reduced the size of a joint military exercise with Israel that was originally billed as being of unprecedented size, TIME Magazine reported Friday, citing “well-placed sources in both countries.” The reduction, although officially attributed to budgetary restrictions, was put into the context of Washington’s opposition to a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program.
The report quoted a senior Israeli military official speculating, “Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you.’”
The annual exercise, Austere Challenge 12, was originally slated to include some 5,000 US troops, according to TIME. Instead, the United States will send anywhere between 1,200 and 1,500 troops, TIME reported.
Washington will still send the Patriot missile defense systems it planned to provide, but the crews that man them will not arrive, TIME reported. Whereas two Aegis ballistic missile defense ships were slated to arrive for the drill, only one is currently expected.
The drill, called Austere Challenge 12, was initially scheduled for April but was surprisingly postponed by Israel in Januaryunder a variety of budgetary and logistical claims. Click on link above to read more.