Israel elevated in US military planning for potential war with Iran

Washington is moving to incorporate Israel in a new regional alliance after the US military decided to replace its “war on terror” strategy by “potential combat with China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.” This policy shift from diplomacy to possible military action against Iran was indicated in a remark made by President Joe Biden on Nov. 3, “The multi-state deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program is dead,” he said, adding he would not announce this publicly.  

The normalization agreements taking solid hold between Israel and key Arab allies since they were brokered by the Trump administration has created a strategic opportunity for the US to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East, said a Pentagon source. “Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies,” the Pentagon announced.

However, differences between the Biden and Jerusalem remain and are admitted. As one senior US intelligence official put it: “Israel is coming out of the closet – allowed now to openly cooperate with the US military, while at the same time being denied access to another closet.”

According to the unnamed official, the new military cooperation includes exchanges for specific purposes, such as targeting. However, the US has also “increased its data collection operations in areas where US-Israeli interests may vary, such as counterintelligence against Israeli spies or uncovering information on Israel’s nuclear weapons.” The CIA’s Hebrew section has been told by the president to put more emphasis on spying on Israel where issues are at variance. DEBKAfile: This is the first time that a US administration has admitted to conducting intelligence against its top Middle East ally.

The new areas of US-Israel military and intelligence collaboration, chiefly on the Iran-related issue, were prepared in more detail during recent visits exchanged by top commanders. On Nov. 16, The head of the US Army’s Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. Michael Kurilla (see photo) ended his fourth visit to Israel since taking office earlier this year. Four days later, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, arrived in Washington for five days of meetings with officials at the department of defense and with military leaders.   

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