Iran’s state-owned media outlet PressTV announced Wednesday that the U.S. troop movement and huge “missile defence drill” announced December 20, is actually the precursor for war against Iran.We reported on the deal to bring several thousand U.S. troops and two advanced missile systems to the country for an unprecedented defence drill in December.
Tensions over the closing of the Strait of Hormuz and U.S. military presence in the Gulf have risen dramatically since, and following the latest round of sanctions signed by Obama, Iran is clearly on the defensive.
PressTV says the drill will begin in January, but the Israeli announcement claims the “largest-ever” missile defence exercise will commence this spring, largely in response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Tehran’s claim that the U.S. is planning a war against Iran is not entirely implausible.
In December we learned that the U.S. will deploy its theatre High Altitude Area defence (THAAD) missile system and its ship-based Aegis system to simulate intercepting an incoming salvo into Israel. The two systems will work in conjunction with Israel’s Arrow, Patriot, and Iron Dome missile systems.
This deployment will not actually be the first permanent U.S. military presence in Israel, that moment went largely unnoticed on September 21, 2008 when U.S. European Command sent a high-powered X-band radar system, supporting people, and equipment to the Jewish state.
The move required more than a dozen aircraft including mammoth C-5 Galaxys and C-17 Globemasters. The Raytheon FBX-T radar system is the same one deployed to northern Japan in 2006 and is incredibly effective at minimising incoming missile threats.
In addition to these deployments, the U.S. has been slowly building a list of grievances against Iran and has recently been drawing some lines in the sand that we reported on last month:
- There is the article in Foreign Affairs by Matthew Kroenig that has everyone talking. Kroenig, an articulate and thoughtful writer apparently not given to wild extremes of opinion, makes the argument that an attack on Iran is “The Least Bad Option” and sums that reasoning up in his piece titled “Time to Attack Iran.”
- There is the IAEA report that systematically lays out Iran’s apparent attempts to generate weapons grade radioactive material.
- There is Leon Panetta saying three days ago that the U.S. will simply not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. He told CBS News this would be “A red line,” for both the U.S. and Israel.
- There is the $10 million bounty now being offered for information leading to the capture of the Iran-based al-Qaida money-man Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil.
- And then, perhaps most interesting in its quiet release, there is the ruling by a New York federal judge, who signed a default judgment holding the Taliban, al-Qaida, and Iran responsible for the September 11 attacks.
Judge George Daniels ruled $100 billion is owed to victims families, and that Iran continues to “provide material support and resources to al-Qaida by providing a safe haven for al-Qaida leadership and rank-and-file al-Qaida members.”
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