Thursday, June 24, 2021

  • Thursday, June 24, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the US Navy:

U.S. Sixth Fleet formally announces participation in the upcoming annually held Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 (SB21) cohosted with the Ukrainian Navy, June 21, 2021.

The exercise is taking place from June 28 to July 10 in the Black Sea region and will focus on multiple warfare areas including amphibious warfare, land maneuver warfare, diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, special operations integration, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue operations. 

This year’s iteration has the largest number of participating nations in the exercise’s history with 32 countries from six continents providing 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft, and 18 special operations and dive teams scheduled to participate.
Ukraine and U.S. are cohosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 32 countries in total: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
There is even a graphic showing the history of every country that participated every year:


Israel participated in 2012 and will again this year.

When Tunisians found out that their country planned to participate this year - along with Israel - there was a large pushback.

So the Tunisian Defense Ministry issued a statement denying that they were ever going to participate, and claiming that they were invited but never accepted:

A spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense stated that Tunisia had received an invitation to participate in a major naval maneuver led by the Sixth Fleet, and that Tunisia had not accepted this invitation and that the national army could not participate in these maneuvers.

The ministry confirmed that what is being circulated, quoting foreign media, regarding the participation of an element of the Tunisian Navy in the maneuver, is unfounded.

The Secretary-General of the Tunisian Republican Party, Issam Chebbi, sent a letter to President Kais Saied earlier today, asking him to clarify the Tunisian army's participation in joint maneuvers in the Black Sea with the Israeli army.
It seems highly unlikely that Sea Breeze would announce Tunisia's participation without confirming it.

My guess is that Tunisia accepted not as a participant but as an observer, which some nations do. This allows them to deny that their navy is participating while still supporting the exercise.

Now they may be forced to stay home out of fear of embarrassment. 

There could also be issues beyond Israel involved. Sea Breeze is aimed at showing NATO strength against Russia, and both NATO and Russia are competing for Tunisia's favor especially with regard to who should control neighboring Libya. The kerfuffle over Israel might have given cover for Russian pressure for Tunisia to withdraw from the exercise.

The UAE, Morocco and Egypt are the other Arab countries that will be represented at Sea Breeze.

See also JE Dyer.






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