IDF appoints first Iran 'project director' as northern tensions rise

The appointment underscores the overwhelming importance that Israel places on the developing military confrontation between the countries.

By BEN CASPIT/MAARIV
July 3, 2018 10:57
1 minute read.
Gadi Eisenkot

Gadi Eisenkot. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has appointed Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, who recently left his role as head of the military’s Operations Directorate, as the first director of a special IDF project to coordinate all issues related to the battle against Iran.

Alon accompanied Eisenkot on his recent trip to the US last weekend and participated in meetings with American military leaders, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.

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Joseph Dunford.

This is the first time the IDF has appointed a “project director for Iran issues,” who will deal with Iran’s nuclear program, coordinating intelligence gathering with other countries and countering Iran’s presence in Syria.

In the past, Mossad head Meir Dagan was responsible for the “Iran file” under prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, but at that time the battle was restricted to intelligence spheres.

Now that the war has come into the open and includes military confrontation, the appointment of a “special project head” underscores the overwhelming importance Israel sees for these developments.
Iran targets Israel from Syria, Israel responds, May 10, 2018 (Reuters)

Within the framework of the role, Alon will also be responsible for coordination between the Israeli and American security establishments. The US and Israel haven’t concealed their interest in overthrowing the regime of the Ayatollahs.


Israeli media recently reported that renewed American pressure on Iran, especially the enforcement of additional American sanctions, are having a significant impact within Iran – much more so than was foreseen.

Part of this effect can be seen in the growing protests in the large Iranian cities in the face of the worsening economic situation and critical water shortage.

The appointment of Alon, who is in a cooling-off period and is vying for appointment as the deputy IDF chief of staff, illustrates the trust the IDF leadership places in him, including Eisenkot and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Alon was head of the Operations Directorate until a little more than a month ago, and he can take part of the credit for the accruing Israeli successes on everything related to Israel’s “war between the wars” against Iran, Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias.

Alon, who reports directly to the chief of staff, is also charged with maintaining the connection between the IDF, Military Intelligence and the Mossad.

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