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Gingrich Wrong When Says Obama Canceled Military Drill with Israel

By Sara Sorcher

National Journal

WASHINGTON -- Newt Gingrich, blasting Obama for being “weak” on Iran, incorrectly said the president canceled a scheduled military exercise with Israel “so as not to be provocative” after Tehran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz (see GSN, Jan. 17).

“The Iranians are …. actively taunting us … so he cancels a military exercise with the Israelis so as not to be provocative? Now, dictatorships respond to strength -- they don’t respond to weakness,” Gingrich said.  “I think there’s a very grave danger the Iranians think that in fact this president is so weak they could close the Strait of Hormuz and not suffer substantial consequences."

However, it’s been recently reported that the Israelis -- not the United States -- asked to postpone the drill. A senior defense official told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta amid concerns the Israelis did not have the resources in place to carry out the drill. “Panetta, according to these Pentagon sources, was concerned that the Iranians would interpret the scrubbing of the exercise, well, the way it's currently being interpreted, as a sign of American wavering in the face of Iranian threats,” Goldberg writes. “He told Barak that he would not agree to a cancellation, as Barak was suggesting, but only a postponement.”

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