The American air force is working with military leaders from the Gulf to train and prepare Arab air forces for a possible war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
An air warfare conference in Washington last week was told how American air chiefs have helped to co-ordinate intelligence-sharing with Gulf Arab nations and organise combined exercises designed to make it easier to fight together.
Gen Michael Mosley, the US Air Force chief of staff, used the conference to seek closer links with allies whose support America might need if President George W Bush chooses to bomb Iran.
Pentagon air chiefs have helped set up an air warfare centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Gulf nations are training their fighter pilots and America has big bases. It is modelled on the US Air Force warfare centre at Nellis air force base in Nevada.
Jordan and the UAE have both taken part in combined exercises designed to make sure their air forces can fly, and fight, together and with American jets, telegraph.co.uk reports.
The Telegraph adds that only Jordan and the UAE have taken part in joint drills aimed at making sure their air forces can fly, and fight, together with US jets.
"We need friends and partners with the capabilities to take care of their own security and stability in their regions and, through the relationship, the inter-operability and the will to join us in coalitions when appropriate," said US Air Force Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Bruce Lemkin.
The British paper however admits that it is "unlikely that US Persian Gulf allies would join any US air strike against Iran over its nuclear program."
But Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy, the head of the RAF (British Royal Air Force), echoed the concerns of many British officials that America relies too much on military solutions. "In an environment like this, we always focus on the part that the military can play in solving security and foreign policy problems, but the military will rarely, if ever, be the solution, "he added.
The US has stepped up war rhetoric against Iran in a bid to intimidate the Islamic Republic into abandoning its nuclear activities. Iran has reiterated that its nuclear program is aimed at peaceful purposes, and the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed the country's non-deviation from civilian programs, presstv.ir reports.