IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi has landed in Washington for his final official visit as Israel’s top military officer.
Kohavi will be in the United States for five days and will hold meetings with senior officials in the US Department of Defense and the military to discuss security challenges in the Middle East including the threats posed by Iran.
During the visit, Kohavi will meet with the Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA head William Burns and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and a number of other senior US military officials.
He will also hold a joint situational assessment and take part in a panel with CENTCOM Commander General Michael Kurilla, who was just in Israel and toured the northern border as well as the Israel Air Force’s fleet of F-35 Adir stealth fighter jets.
During Kurilla’s visit to Israel last week, Kohavi said that the two countries were “developing joint military capabilities at an accelerated rate” against Iran and other threats in the Middle East.
“We are operating together on all fronts to gather intelligence, neutralize threats, and prepare for various scenarios in either one or multiple arenas,”IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi
Iran’s increasing hostility has been the main concern for Israel and regional countries, and during his last visit to Washington last year, he discussed expanding and increasing military coordination with CENTCOM forces in terms of intelligence sharing and defensive operational activities.
Iran's increasing threat to the Middle East
In the last year, the IDF and CENTCOM forces have held several joint drills as well as operational missions.
“We are operating together on all fronts to gather intelligence, neutralize threats, and prepare for various scenarios in either one or multiple arenas,” Kohavi said during Kurilla’s visit.
In addition to its regional hostility and continued work on its nuclear program, Iran has been helping Russia in its invasion of Ukraine by supplying armed drones that have wreaked havoc on residential areas.
Last week the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon owned in part by Israeli businessman Idan Ofer was struck by an Iranian Shahed-136 drone near the coast of Oman, causing damage but no injuries.
According to Israeli officials, the drone was launched from an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps air base near the southeastern city of Chabahar.
“The Iranians are no longer hiding behind their proxies. They have made a mistake and will not be able to evade [blame] for the action,” one official told Army Radio.
Following the attack, Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin about Iran’s aggressive moves in the region.
"I predict that the Iranian hostility will receive a boost as a result of the relations with Russia and the ongoing struggle between the world powers. And this will have an impact on the entire region,”Defense Minister Benny Gantz
“Iran’s latest actions prove once again that it is first and foremost a strategic threat to the world and the region,” Gantz said. “Strengthening cooperation against it is needed now more than ever.”
Two weeks ago Gantz told reporters that Iran’s move to aid Russia will spur it into carrying out more attacks.
"I predict that the Iranian hostility will receive a boost as a result of the relations with Russia and the ongoing struggle between the world powers. And this will have an impact on the entire region,” he said.
And, he warned, Israel has the capabilities to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, but incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must consider the issue “carefully” before giving the order.
“Israel has the ability to act in Iran. We have the readiness, development capabilities, and long-term plans we are managing. We need to prepare for this possibility, and we will also need to consider this issue very carefully before carrying it out,” the outgoing defense minister said.