The IDF and the US European Command (USEUCOM) held a joint exercise, codenamed Juniper Falcon, that concluded Thursday. The two militaries examined a scenario in which an attack by Israel on Iranian interests in Syria or Lebanon elicits an Iranian retaliatory missile strike with the US coming to Israel’s’ aid.
The above scenario has become more likely following a change in Israel’s policy of keeping mum regarding its strikes in Syria. This week, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that Israel was behind the mysterious airstrike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
The exercise lasted 10 days and included some 700 officers and servicemen. Similar to other military exercises, such as Juniper Cobra which is held every two years, alternating with Juniper Falcon, the forces practiced maneuvers on the ground, in addition to at the command level.
As in previous exercises, a massive missile barrage targeting Israel was the basic premise of the drill. But with the entrenchment of the Iranian military in Syria and western Iraq, IDF intelligence estimates that protecting Israeli airspace has become especially challenging.
Three IDF command structures, together with US air defense units, practiced a scenario in which tens of thousands of missiles and rockets are launched at Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and even Iraq by pro-Iranian militias.
During the drill, the forces bolstered their intelligence, operational and logistical cooperation with the goal being that some light US forces should come to Israel’s aid within a maximum of two days at and that more substantial forces join the effort, along with Patriot missile batteries, within a few days.
The substantial resources of US Navy aircraft carriers, with regards to locating, identifying and neutralizing threats were also adopted into the exercise.