Aerial Exercises Show Off the Jewish State’s Diplomatic, as Well as Military, Strength

Last week, the Israel Air Force held its biennial Blue Flag exercises, in which France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States all participated. Bradley Bowman, Jacob Nagel, and Ryan Brobst explain their significance:

Blue Flag 2021 marked a number of historic firsts. The exercise featured the first French Rafale fighter squadron in Israel, the first Indian Mirage fighter squadron in Israel, and the first British fighter squadron in Israel since the country was established in 1948. The participation of France, the United Kingdom, and India . . . suggests each government saw practical operational benefits from sending crews and aircraft to the Israeli exercise, and was happy to signal increased diplomatic support for the state of Israel.

This growing international recognition of Jerusalem’s role as a source of regional leadership and stability must be disappointing for the Islamic Republic of Iran and its terrorist proxies, who seek to attack and even to destroy the state of Israel. It must also be quite frustrating for those elsewhere who seek to delegitimize and isolate Jerusalem. Despite the efforts of Israel’s adversaries, Jerusalem now fields its most capable military ever and is more diplomatically integrated in the region than it has been since Israel’s founding.

Israel’s growing regional integration was demonstrated by the Blue Flag 2021 exercise’s most important first: the visit by the United Arab Emirates air-force commander Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed al-Alawi. [Increasing Israeli cooperation with Arab states also] was on full display on October 30 in a separate development when aircraft from Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (at different times) accompanied an American B-1B strategic bomber in its flight around the Arabian Peninsula. Riyadh’s willingness to participate for a second time this year in a multilateral patrol mission involving Israel is worth noting.

Read more at Defense One

More about: IDF, Israel diplomacy, Israeli Security, United Arab Emirates


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria