March 5, 2013
Russian nuclear forces conducted a major exercise last month that tested the transport of both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons near Europe, according to United States officials.
The exercise raised concerns inside the Pentagon and with the U.S. European Command because it was the largest exercise of its kind in 20 years and involved heightened alert status of Russian nuclear forces.
The nuclear drills were part of other military maneuvers in Russia carried out between Feb. 17 and Feb. 21.
The exercises followed a recent surge in Russian strategic bomber flights that include a recent circling of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam by two Tu-95 Bear bomber and simulated bombing runs by Tu-95s against Alaska and California in June and July.
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January 6, 2012
Without much media attention, thousands of American troops are being deployed to Israel, and Iranian officials believe that this is the latest and most blatant warning that the US will soon be attacking Tehran.
Tensions between nations have been high in recent months and have only worsened in the weeks since early December when Iran hijacked and recovered an American drone aircraft. Many have speculated that a back-and-forth between the two countries will soon escalate Iran and the US into an all-out war, and that event might occur sooner than thought.
Under the Austere Challenge 12 drill scheduled for an undisclosed time during the next few weeks, the Israeli military will together with America host the largest-ever joint missile drill by the two countries. Following the installation of American troops near Iran’s neighboring Strait of Hormuz and the reinforcing of nearby nations with US weapons, Tehran authorities are considering this not a test but the start of something much bigger.
In the testing, America’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile system will be operating alongside its ship-based Aegis system and Israel’s own program to work with Arrow, Patriot and Iron Drone missiles.
Israeli military officials say that the testing was planned before recent episodes involving the US and Iran. Of concern, however, is how the drill will require the deployment of thousands of American troops into Israel. The Jerusalem Post quotes US Commander Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc as saying the drill is not just an “exercise” but also a “deployment” that will involve “several thousand American soldiers” heading to Israel. Additionally, new command posts will be established by American forces in Israel and that country’s own IDF army will begin working from a base in Germany.
In September, the US European Command established a radar system in Israel.