Washington’s proposal is unprecedented and could significantly intensify military cooperation between the United States and Israel. “It is not about planning any joint attack by the United States and Israel on the Iranian nuclear program,” explained an official from Washington, under the protection of anonymity.
The Israeli government has expressed skepticism, amid concerns that such an initiative would block a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel did not reject the initiative, but asked for clarification to find out what joint military planning would entail. The Israeli government is interested in whether it would only be about activities specific to the exchange of information or would involve concrete military operations, according to an Israeli official.
The proposal was made during the recent visits to Israel by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and the head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Erik Kurilla.
An official from Washington explained that the initiative has the role of intensifying US support for Israel, not blocking unilateral Israeli actions. Joint military planning would involve the presentation of reactions in certain emergency scenarios regarding Iran’s activities in the Middle East.
“We have repeatedly conveyed publicly our interest in expanding military cooperation with the Israeli military to include participation in joint exercises to improve interoperability and promote a unified understanding of regional security challenges. Relations between the US and Israeli militaries remain extremely close , and our commitment to Israel’s security remains steadfast,” said Phillip Ventura, a Pentagon spokesman.
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