US and Israeli Air Forces yesterday began large-scale air maneuvers in the Negev Desert in Israel. According to Israeli Army Radio, the week-long exercises are organized to mimic a possible US-Israeli joint military operation against the Iranian nuclear facilities.
In a related development, a senior US military officer has told The Jerusalem Post that senior officers in the US armed forces have thrown their support behind President Bush over any operation against Iran to stop its nuclear progress (The Jerusalem Post online edition, 11 June 2007.)
The Post quotes the senior officer as saying that the US Navy has also drawn up plans for a naval blockade designed to cut off Iran’s oil exports. Under the most-likely scenario, the US Navy would not block the Straight of Hormuz but instead would patrol farther out and turn away tankers on their ways to load Iranian oil.
The Iranian officials have also made threats of their own against the US interests if and when they are faced with a military attack on the nuclear facilities and/or a naval blockade to cut off oil exports.
The Western analysts believe that Iran can engage in attacks on US interests in the region at anytime, with or without a US military attack on its installations and/or a naval blockade. As such, the analysts argue, the US needs to embrace itself for such attacks at anytime and, at the same time, plan possible military actions against Iran independent and in spite of it.
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