American bombers were joined by aircraft from Washington’s Middle East partners for war games last week. The exercises were said to showcase America’s “ability to deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice.”
Washington flew B1-B bombers and dropped munitions on ranges in Saudi Arabia and Jordan on Tuesday, Al-Monitor reported, noting that Saudi and Jordanian aircraft also participated in the air drills. The Department of Defense has declined to name all five Mid East partners taking part in the exercises.
Israel confirmed their participation by tweeting a photo of two F-16s from the Israeli Defense Forces flying alongside an American bomber.
The US Air Force said the operations were intended as a show of force. “These bomber missions represent the US’s commitment to our partners and showcase our ability to deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice,” said Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich, who commands the 9th Air Force. “Today was a demonstration of that capability and the strength of our partnerships.”
In a press release, the Air Force described the drills as “historic,“ saying they marked the first time airmen from the 9th “flew multiple weapons types and practiced employment against multiple simulated targets during a single bomber task force mission.”
While the statement did not single out any country by name, Iran is the primary adversary of Washington and Tel Aviv in the region. However, Tehran has worked to mend ties with some of its neighbors in recent months, signing a normalization pact with Riyadh in March after mediation by Beijing. Last week, the Middle East Eye reported that the US and Iran were nearing an agreement that would see both countries begin to return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken that no deal between the US and Iran would prevent Israel from attacking the country over its nuclear program.
Washington is additionally working to push Riyadh to develop deeper ties with Tel Aviv, a move that Tehran may view with skepticism, fearing Saudi will join the hostile US-Israel axis. Tel Aviv primarily bombs Iranian allies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.