Despite not having diplomatic relations, Israel’s air force is participating in joint exercises this week with the air forces of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates at a U.S. Air Force base in Nevada.
It is highly unusual for countries that don’t officially recognize each other to work together in military drills, but being invited to train with the United States at their elite “Red Flag” exercise is an opportunity few nations would pass up.
The exercise will include simulated dog fights and other challenging missions including trying to evade surface to air missiles, like the ones Israel could be facing in a conflict with Hezbollah.
An Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson demurred when asked by The Jerusalem Post about Israel’s participation alongside countries that don’t recognize it. But he noted that the IDF greatly benefits from participating in exercises like Red Flag. “The air force trains regularly in Israel and abroad in order to maintain operational readiness for different operational situations,” the spokesperson said. “The ‘Red Flag’ exercise is a unique and high quality exercise. When the air force was invited to participate, it responded by accepting.”
While Israel has no formal diplomatic ties with either Pakistan or the UAE, clandestine ties with both are believed to have grown due to shared concern over Iran’s threat to the region. Last November, Israel established a diplomatic mission to the International Renewable Energy Association, which is based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
Pilots from Jordan participated in last year’s Red Flag exercises in Alaska, and were even reported to have flown alongside IDF planes en route.
[Photo: U.S. Air Force ]