Decreased US Presence in Drill Not Sign of ‘Mistrust’

Sunday, 02 Sep 2012 01:36 PM

By Patrick Hobin

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The Pentagon denied reports that the scaling down of American involvement in a planned joint ballistic drill with Israel represents a shift in Israeli relations, the Jerusalem Post reported.

A senior Israeli defense source told the Post on Saturday that a recent story discussing the scope of the scale was false and the Pentagon rejected the claim that “mistrust” of Israel was behind the change.

Time magazine reported on Friday that initially about 5,000 American troops had planned to be involved in the drill but that number was scaled back to between 1,200 and 1,500. The article quoted an unnamed Israeli military official as saying the change was a sign of American mistrust of Israel due to disagreements on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

Responding to the report, the defense source said, “All of the commentary on this has been wrong. There is no great significance. Nothing has changed.”

The drill is still the largest held by the U.S. and Israel to date, even with the smaller American force.

“Defense cooperation between Israel and the U.S. has never been better,” the source told the Post.


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