Austere Challenge 12 was supposed to take place at the end of April and was going be the largest joint U.S.-Israeli war game in history. The game was two years in the planning and was massive in size and scope and thousands of American military personnel and various U.S. missile defense systems were going to be deployed in Israel. To quote the Jerusalem Post “The drill was supposed to include the simulation of various missile defense scenarios with the objective of creating a high level of interoperability so that, if needed, US missile defense systems would be able to deploy in Israel and work with local defense systems during a future conflict.”
The game was abruptly cancelled three days ago and senior U.S. and Israeli defense officials were surprised and taken aback by the cancellation. No one really knows who cancelled the game or why it was cancelled in the first place and speculation is rife about what was behind the decision.
Some say President Obama was behind the cancellation because Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister criticized his commitment to keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands. Some say Israel cancelled the game as a message to Obama to get serious about stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and that it was telling the White House it will act alone to deal with the Iranian threat if need be. Some say Obama was angry because he thinks Israel views him as a one term President and is not showing enough deference and respect for his liking. Some say Israel cancelled the game because the Israelis have given up on Obama and are planning a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and don’t want to complicate matters.
There are many other possible explanations as well.
There is one possible explanation for the cancellation that no one has mentioned in all the speculation however.
Remember interoperability? The Israelis don’t trust Obama to keep its military secrets secret and don’t want to reveal the innermost workings of their missile defense systems to him, which the game would require them to do. Obama’s antipathy towards Israel and proclivity towards Iran is well known and well documented and the Israelis may think that giving Obama too clear a picture of how their systems work would be detrimental to Israel because Obama would somehow use the information against them.
The Israelis don’t trust Obama, for very good reasons. That’s why the game was cancelled. The Israelis said to Obama “the game can’t go on because we don’t trust you”.
Nor should they.
Nor should anyone else either, Americans included.