US, Israel Conclude Largest-Ever Joint Military Exercise Aimed at Iran

January 28th, 2023 - by Dave DeCamp /

Drills Demonstrate US Still Has Israel’s Back
Despite Netanyahu’s Confrontational New Rule

Dave DeCamp /

(January 26, 2023) — The US and Israel on Thursday announced the conclusion of their largest-ever joint military exercises, known as Juniper Oak 23.

The drills were launched Monday and involved over 140 aircraft and nearly 8,000 troops from both militaries. The massive show of force was clearly a provocation toward Iran despite claims from US officials that it wasn’t aimed at any one country.

“US Central Command and the Israel Defense Forces concluded Juniper Oak 23.2, the largest US-Israel partnered exercise in history,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a press release. 

CENTCOM said the drills included a live-fire exercise that involved “B52s, F35s, F15s, F16s, FA-18s, AC-130, AH64s, 12 naval assets, High Mobility Rocket Artillery Systems, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, a mix of jet fighters, and long-range bombers.”

US and Israeli fighter jets fly alongside a B-52 bomber during 2023 Juniper Oak drill.

Besides sending a message to Iran, the massive exercise demonstrates that the US has Israel’s back in the region despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which has pledged to expand settlements in the West Bank and eventually annex the territory.

Netanyahu’s new government is also full of Iran hawks, including his national security advisor, Tzachi Hanegbi. Before the new government was formed, Hanegbi threatened that Netanyahu would attack Iran if the US doesn’t negotiate a stricter nuclear deal or take military action itself.

Both the US and Israel have been threatening military action against Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But the Pentagon acknowledged in its recent Nuclear Posture Review that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Juniper Oak came after Israel’s former army chief visited Washington DC in November and said upon his return that the two countries would expand joint military cooperation.

US Says Iran Isn’t Trying to Build a Nuclear Weapon

But That Won’t Stop Biden from Threatening Military Action to “Stop Iran”

Dave DeCamp /

(November 2, 2022) — The Pentagon’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) says the US believes Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, but Biden administration officials are still threatening military action against Tehran to prevent it from acquiring one.

The NPR was released last week and reads: “Iran does not today possess a nuclear weapon and we currently believe it is not pursuing one.”

The National Defense Strategy (NDS) that was released with the Nuclear Posture Review also acknowledges that Iran has not made a decision to build a nuclear bomb. It reads: “Iran is taking actions that would improve its ability to produce a nuclear weapon should it make the decision to do so.”

Despite the Pentagon’s conclusion, President Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, said this week that the US would use military action as a “last resort” to prevent Iran from acquiring a bomb.

“We will use other tools, and in last resort, a military option if necessary, to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Malley said.

Malley also said that the US wasn’t going to “waste our time” on negotiations with Iran to revive the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, even though the NPR recognized the agreement puts strict constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

The NPR says that Iranian nuclear activity that the JCPOA previously constrained is “of great concern as they are applicable to a nuclear weapons program.”

After the US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, lifting Iran’s obligation to the agreement, Tehran waited a year before slowly increasing its nuclear activity. In more recent years, Iran has increased uranium enrichment in response to Israeli covert attacks and assassinations, operations the US tacitly endorses by never condemning them.

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