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WASHINGTON – A U.S. decision to send Air Force F-22 Raptors to the United Arab Emirates apparently is more than a mere training mission, according to informed sources close to the U.S. intelligence community, Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin reports.

The sources suggest that despite continuing technical problems lurking within the advanced multi-purpose fighter, the Raptors are being staged in the UAE in preparation to assist the Israelis should they decide to launch a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel and the U.S. believe the Islamic republic is developing nuclear weapons.

The jets also would be used to bolster the military capabilities of the U.S.-backed Gulf Arab countries.

The dispatch of the Raptors is said to be part of a new but untested Defense Department Air Sea Battle, or ASB, strategy to keep open the vital Strait of Hormuz through which up to 40 percent of the world’s oil and other commerce transit.

The Iranians have threatened to shut down the narrow Strait that touches Iranian territorial waters at one point.

Such a shutdown, even for a short time, would cause major economic disruptions in an already serious global economic downturn, which is getting worse by the day.

The Raptors would supplement an Israeli attack that could deploy U.S.-made aircraft, nuclear-capable Jericho II missiles and nuclear-capable cruise missiles on electric submarines acquired from Germany.

The ASB strategy appears to be what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta referred to recently when he said that the U.S. had contingency plans in place to back up Israel should it attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The ASB, according to the open intelligence service Lignet’s former intelligence officers, would have the Raptors perform “exotic jobs” such as tracking Iranian submarine-launched cruise missiles and turning the missiles around to hit targets inside Iran.

The uncertainty in this scenario is that the Raptors are untested in combat and continue to experience some serious technical issues.

For example the oxygen supply to the pilots can fail, which not only endangers their lives but could crash this almost half-a-billion-dollar aircraft.

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