By ARIE EGOZI
Tel Aviv: The preparations for a joint American – Israeli operation against Iranian targets have been accelerated. The Israeli air force according to Syrian media has again attacked Iranian related targets in Syria last night.
A special unit of the US Marine Corps (USMC) Task Force 51, began training on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in Israel before deploying to the Persian Gulf.
According to Nir Dvori , senior defence correspondent of Israeli Ch. 12 that was the first to report about the unit’s arrival to Israel, although joint training has taken place in the past, this is the first time this US unit is involved in such a training in Israel.
Dvori said that the joint training is another step in the building of coordination between the Israeli Defence forces (IDF) and CENTCOM. The Marines arrived to the Israeli port of Eilat on the Red Sea and have been flown immediately to IDF bases in southern Israel.
The joint training will involve the US Marine fighters with IDF fighters from its infantry academy and with some of the IDF’s elite commando units. Israeli sources say that the joint training is another outcome of the recent realignment of Israel to CENTCOM.
In September, US Central Command assumed combatant command responsibility for US forces in Israel. The realignment, announced by the Defence Department in January 2021 strengthens the strategic US-Israeli defence relationship and offers opportunities to deepen operational collaboration between the Israel Defence Forces and CENTCOM’s many partners in the region.
The official announcement said that CENTCOM will now work to implement the US Government commitment to a holistic approach to regional security and cooperation with our partners. The US Government’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security remains enduring and iron clad.
From Israel, the Marines will continue to the Persian Gulf, in order to address a possible escalation with Iran and extreme scenarios according to which the Iranians will try to take control of an American ship, or more seriously, a diplomatic mission. The joint training, which will also include the Navy and 13th Fleet, is also intended to demonstrate strength against Tehran and deter it, as well as to show the level of cooperation between Israel and the United States.
According to an official website of the US Marine Corps, CENTCOMS’s approach to protect the nation’s interests in the middle east is to work by, with and through key regional partners to bolster regional security and promote stability, while minimizing a permanent US military footprint. In so doing, it can build partners’ capacity to enable them to share in the security costs for the region.
TF 51 is a rapidly deployable headquarters element providing US Marine Corps Forces Central Command and US Naval Forces Central Command commanders with a scalable command and control capability that can be used for crisis response and limited contingency operations.
TF 51/5’s area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
In recent months the commander of the U.S fifth fleer visited Israel and last week, the Blue Flag joint exercise of a number of air forces including the American one, ended after a week of joint training of the seven participating air forces.