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Postponing Those Joint Maneuvers: A Very Big Deal

No one in the know is talking about the reason(s) for the abrupt postponement of the of those much ballyhooed joint U.S.-Israel military maneuvers that had been scheduled for this spring.

Some point to Obama administration’s apparent unease about the possibility that Israel would strike Iranian nuclear facilities while thousands of U.S. troops were in Israel. They note that the cancellation came soon after reports that Israel had refused to reassure the U.S. that a strike was not imminent.

Others believe the maneuvers, which were to center around anti-missile defense, might precipitate a rash judgment by the Iranians that the U.S. was going to protect Israel against a retaliatory strike following an Israeli assault on their nuclear sites.

On a related note, there is speculation that the U.S. is concerned that the Iranians, who’ve been making noise about disrupting free navigation through the Straits of Hormuz, would view any joint U.S.-Israel exercise as a cover for a massive stockpiling of American armaments to be used in thwarting any such attempted blockade – and perhaps take reckless action as a result.

Still others suggest the Arab world, aghast at this powerful demonstration of a US “tilt” toward Israel at a time of great anxiety over the moribund peace talks and the uncertainties of the Arab Spring, effectively communicated its displeasure to the Obama administration.

We suspect that more information will be forthcoming in the next few days. For now, though, the overriding concern is that the mullahs in Iran not read this development as an American “blink,” which of course would send a message of American weakness or uncertainty at the worst possible time.

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