US-Israeli Cooperation Project against Iran
It appears that the coming period will witness an escalation of cooperation between Tel Aviv and Washington to confront the Iranian threat, following an unprecedented US request for Israel to engage in joint military planning regarding the Iranian nuclear file.
According to the Axios website in the United States, a US official confirmed that their proposal does not involve planning any type of joint American-Israeli strikes against Iran's nuclear program.
The proposal came during recent visits to Israel by General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, as well as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Eric Kurilla, Commander of US Central Command.
It is worth noting that Israeli officials have so far treated the proposal with some skepticism, fearing that it may be an American attempt to restrict Israel's ability to take independent action against Tehran, especially regarding preventing it from targeting its nuclear facilities if the United States objects to such actions.
Israel has not rejected the idea but has requested clarifications about the precise meaning of "joint military planning." They want to know if it will be limited to intelligence sharing and anticipated scenarios and how to handle them collectively, or if it will also extend to joint operations.
Official US statements have clarified that the proposal aims to reassure Israel about US military support and that it is not intended in any way to restrict Israel's movement. Such joint planning means that each side shares its emergency plans, and in addition to that, both sides can discuss ways to better deal with different scenarios that may develop regarding Tehran's activities in the region.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Philip Ventura said that senior leaders of the US Department of Defense have repeatedly made general statements about their interest in expanding military cooperation with the Israeli army to include increased participation in military exercises to enhance cooperation and improve mutual understanding of security challenges.
Lieutenant Colonel Philip Ventura added that "the relationship between the US and Israeli armies is extremely close, and our commitment to Israel's security remains steadfast."
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also attempted to alleviate Israeli concerns in a speech he delivered at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy two weeks ago, saying, "We have made it clear to Iran that it can never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon, and as President Biden has repeatedly emphasized, he will take the necessary measures to adhere to this statement, including recognizing Israel's freedom to act."
For his part, Mohammed Abbadi, a researcher specializing in Iranian affairs, confirmed that the United States views with great concern the Iranian nuclear project not because of Tehran's progress in peaceful technologies, but rather due to suspicions, or rather the belief, that this program is only a cover to eventually achieve the production of a nuclear bomb, not limited to declared goals.
Mohammed Abbadi added in exclusive statements to "The Reference": The White House recently announced that the US military will strengthen its defensive position in the Gulf due to the increasing harassment of commercial ships by Iranian naval vessels. The US Fifth Fleet has announced that it is working to increase patrols of ships and aircraft in the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping route in the region. These arrangements reflect the American mentality, which seeks to contain the Iranian threat without getting involved in costly military confrontation, especially at a time when it is indirectly involved in the Ukrainian war against the Russian army.
The researcher specializing in Iranian affairs further stated that considering the approach of US President Joe Biden's administration throughout the past period, characterized by a peaceful approach based on diplomatic solutions and excluding military options, Israeli concerns are growing regarding this cooperation.