US Planes to Partake in Israeli Military Drill Simulating Strike on Iran

Commander of the Central Command of the US Army (CENTCOM), Gen. Michael Kurilla, left, met on May 18, 2022, with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and observed the IDF’s ongoing major “Chariots of Fire” exercise. Israeli army
Commander of the Central Command of the US Army (CENTCOM), Gen. Michael Kurilla, left, met on May 18, 2022, with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and observed the IDF’s ongoing major “Chariots of Fire” exercise. Israeli army
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US Planes to Partake in Israeli Military Drill Simulating Strike on Iran

Commander of the Central Command of the US Army (CENTCOM), Gen. Michael Kurilla, left, met on May 18, 2022, with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and observed the IDF’s ongoing major “Chariots of Fire” exercise. Israeli army
Commander of the Central Command of the US Army (CENTCOM), Gen. Michael Kurilla, left, met on May 18, 2022, with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and observed the IDF’s ongoing major “Chariots of Fire” exercise. Israeli army

The newly confirmed commander of US military forces in the Middle East, US Army Gen. Michael Kurilla, spent a whole day with Israeli army chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi. He personally observed the “Chariots of Fire” exercise, which simulates a multi-front war against Iran.
In two weeks, Israeli Air Force fighter jets will simulate a strike on targets in Iran. It is expected for US mid-air refueling planes to participate.

Kurilla, who assumed his duties as the new CENTCOM chief only a month ago, found himself amid military exercises that reminded of the volatile conditions in the Middle East for which he is responsible, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Kurilla commands US forces that deal with 21 countries, extending from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Seychelles to Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt. The US included Israel in this group last year, after the Abraham Accords were signed.

Israeli sources pointed out that Kurilla showed great interest in the details of the Israeli exercises, given that they dealt with a multi-front war scenario of which Iranian proxies are a part, such as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Israeli leaders told Kurilla that the “Chariots of Fire” exercises, which began last week and will continue for four weeks, simulate a broad attack on Iran and its arms, especially in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Tuesday that even though the US still prefers the diplomatic track in dealing with Iran, it is considering the possibility of resorting to a military option at some stage.

The US Air Force is set to conduct air-to-air refueling of Israeli fighter jets as they simulate a strike on Iranian territory, Channel 13 reported.

Publicizing the US-Israel collaboration is potentially intended to send a message to Tehran amid stalled talks in Vienna about returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US participation “constitutes a message to the Iranians, at a time when negotiations over the nuclear agreement with Iran is stuck,” said Channel 13’s report. “The Israeli message is that if the Americans don’t attack, at least they should assist Israel.”



Trump Blasts Immigrants for Taking Jobs

Former US President Donald Trump (AFP)
Former US President Donald Trump (AFP)
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Trump Blasts Immigrants for Taking Jobs

Former US President Donald Trump (AFP)
Former US President Donald Trump (AFP)

Donald Trump blamed immigrants for stealing jobs and government resources as he courted separate groups of Black voters and hardcore conservatives in battleground Michigan on Saturday.

The Republican former president also made several new baseless claims attacking the nation's voting system.

But Trump's fiery comments on illegal immigration, long a staple in his unapologetic message, marked a connecting theme in downtown Detroit as he sought to stitch together a delicate political coalition at both a Black church and a group known to attract white supremacists.

"The people coming across the border — all those millions of people — they're inflicting tremendous harm to our Black population and to our Hispanic population," Trump told a cheering crowd of thousands of conservative activists packed into a vast convention hall, The AP reported.

“They're not human beings. They're animals,” he said later in referencing members of violent immigrant gangs.

Trump’s diverse weekend schedule underscores the evolving political forces shaping the presidential election this fall as he tries to deny Democratic President Joe Biden a second term.

Few states may matter more in November than Michigan, which Biden carried by less than 3 percentage points four years ago. And few voting groups matter more to Democrats than African Americans, who made up the backbone of Biden’s political base in 2020. But now, less than five months before Election Day, Black voters are expressing modest signs of disappointment with the 81-year-old Democrat.

Trump, who turned 78 on Friday, is fighting to take advantage of his apparent opening.

His crowd was far smaller, but also warmly receptive, when he visited the 180 Church earlier in the day. Derelict vehicles sat outside the modest brick building with “Black Americans for Trump” signs affixed. Rap music and barbecue smoke wafted from a pre-event gathering organized by the Black Conservative Federation group.

“It’s a very important area for us,” Trump told the church crowd, which included a significant number of white people. He promised to return “some Sunday” for a sermon.

He argued that the Black community “is being hurt” by immigrants in the country illegally.

“They’re invading your jobs,” he said.

Trump offered a similar message later in the day while addressing the “People's Convention” of Turning Point Action, a group that the Anti-Defamation League says has been linked to a variety of extremists.

Roughly 24 hours before the former president spoke, well-known white supremacist Nick Fuentes entered the hall surrounded by a group of cheering supporters. Security quickly escorted him out, but Fuentes created political problems for Trump after attending a private lunch with the former president and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West at Trump’s Florida estate in 2022.

Turning Point has emerged as a force in GOP politics in the Trump era, particularly among his “Make America Great Again” movement, despite the Anti-Defamation League’s warning that the group “continues to attract racists.”

“Numerous individuals associated with the group have made bigoted statements about the Black community, the LGBTQ community and other groups,” the ADL, an international anti-hate group, wrote in a background memo. “While TPUSA (Turning Point USA) leaders say they reject white supremacist ideology, known white nationalists have attended their events.”

Turning Point spokesperson Andrew Kolvet dismissed the ADL’s characterization as “smears and lies.” He added that Turning Point has been blocking Fuentes from attending its events for “years.”

“The ADL is a scourge on America, which sows poison and division. They’ve completely lost the plot,” Kolvet said, describing the ADL’s criticism as “a badge of honor.”