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Israel playing up ‘Iran threat’ to sustain enormous US military aid: Expert

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An image grab from an IDF video which shows Israeli F-15 fighter jets escorting an American B-52 bomber as it passes over the occupied Palestinian territories on March 7, 2021.

An American academic and writer says the Israeli regime is hyping up what Tel Aviv calls a threat by Iran in order to sustain military aid from the United States.

Israel “and the right wing has been playing up the ‘threat’ from Iran and Iran's belligerence for many years now,” Jeremy Kuzmarov, an assistant professor at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told Press TV on Monday.

“This is a means of justifying large military budgets in Israel and sustaining high levels of military aid from the United States,” added Kuzmarov, who has authored several books on sensitive political and social subjects.

The US, he said, provides $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel every year, and has supplied emergency weapons and equipment for Israeli attacks on Gaza in the past.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Iran for an alleged February 26 attack on an Israeli cargo ship in the Sea of Oman.

“This is just the latest incident of false alarmism by Israel,” Kuzmarov said.

Iranian officials and international observers believe the incident is one among a litany of false flag operations by Israel to implement its new schemes in the region. 

Israel is apparently trying to stake out a military foothold in the Persian Gulf after signing normalization agreements with some regional Arab states. 

‘Possibility of joint anti-Iran naval drills’

Kuzmarov said the alleged incident could be followed by joint American-Israeli naval drills against Iran under the pretext of ensuring the security of Israeli vessels.

“It is possible that the US would carry out joint military operations with Israel against Iran,” he said.

On Monday, the Times of Israel reported that Israeli F-15 warplanes had escorted two American B-52 bombers over the occupied Palestinian territories. The maneuver was meant as “a new show of force” against Iran, the daily said.

“The US and Israel…behave like bullies often because they believe that they are invulnerable and omnipotent,” Kuzmarov said. 

"The current US President Joe Biden is similar to [his predecessor] Donald Trump, in promoting staunch support for Israel over many years.”

‘Netanyahu’s struggle to stay in power’

Kuzmarov also said the Israeli premier has been playing the Iran card again to deflect attention from his own messy political career and muffle any demand for change.

Netanyahu is trying to “keep the Israeli public in fear so it will support the status quo and not mobilize for social change,” he said.

Netanyahu has been facing weekly demonstrations across the occupied territories over his indictment for corruption and mismanagement of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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