An American liaison team deployed to Tel
Aviv this weekend is responsible for coordinating efforts and intelligence
between the Pentagon, the IDF,
and American forces. Major General Charles Simpson is the chief liaison
officer for the U.S. Army and he will meet with IDF Chief
of Staff Moshe Ya'alon soon to arrange for the details of this joint
A joint air force exercise, the Juniper Cobra, will
take place this week between Israeli and the American Patriot artillery
in the Negev and radar units
from the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Noble Dina, an anti-submarine warfare exercise,
will be executed with the combined efforts of the Israel
Navy and the Sixth Fleet.
Although all of these exercises were planned in advance
of the expected war in Iraq, the exercises will help prepare the two
countries' militaries for warfare. A senior Israeli defense source quoted
in Haaretz said that the exercises "raise the level of
preparedness to that of a possible transition from exercise to operational
situation. It's good for the Americans, and good for us as well."
American soldiers arrived in Israel to also work with
anti-missile defenses, both the U.S.-made Patriot and the Arrow,
developed by both Israel and the U.S. On January 15, Israel moved to
a higher than usual state of alert, codenamed "Red Hail."
According to an advisor to Ariel
Sharon, Zalman Shoval,
this alert was planned before the looming war in Iraq was close and does not mean that Israel has inside information on when
a U.S. attack will be.
In addition, the U.S. sailed an aircraft carrier,
the Harry Truman, into the Mediterranean Sea. The aircraft
should allow U.S. planes to reach Iraqi targets by flying over Israeli
and Jordanian territory. Israel has permitted the use of its air zones
but Jordan has yet to grant
the U.S. permission to fly over its territory..
U.S. military units will stay in Israel until the
end of a war with Iraq.
Israel's civilian preparedness for war includes the
distribution of gas masks and TV and radio instructions on what to do
in the event of a chemical or biological attack.
Source: Aluf Benn, "Israel, U.S. kick off liaison operations ahead
of Iraq war." Haaretz.(
January 14, 2003);
Ramit Plushnick-Masti, "U.S. Soldiers in Israel
for Maneuvers," Associated Press,
(January 14, 2003)