Kohavi is expected to discuss several issues, but the most urgent one will be Iran’s nuclear program.
https://www.jpost.com-By UDI SHAHAM
IDF CHIEF of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi. Israel can criticize the Americans for returning to the Iran deal, as Kochavi illustrated during a speech last month.
(photo credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS)
Two years after assuming office, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi will make his first visit to the capital of Israel’s closest, most powerful ally.
A formal IDF statement said that the most urgent topic on Kohavi’s agenda will be Iran’s nuclear program.
The IDF chief will discuss the talks America is holding in Vienna to return to the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal. Kohavi’s views on the deal are known and he is considered among Israel’s hawks on the issue.
In a speech earlier this year, Kohavi said that a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, or a “slightly improved” one, would be an operational and strategic mistake for the world.
Kohavi is expected to focus on the sunset provisions and the issue of inspections at Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The second issue Kohavi is expected to raise in Washington is Iranian entrenchment in the Middle East, especially in Syria.
These entrenchment efforts pose a direct threat to Israel, also from Yemen and Iraq. According to the IDF Intelligence Directorate’s annual assessment, Iran could potentially use these proxy countries to launch an attack against the Jewish state using drones or other long-range weapons and thereby attempt to prevent a counter attack directed at its own territory.
For natural reasons, Iran’s entrenchment efforts in Syria pose a bigger threat to Israel’s security. On Thursday, Reuters reported that “Israel has dramatically expanded airstrikes on suspected Iranian missile and weapons production centers in Syria to repel what it sees as a stealthy military encroachment by its regional arch-enemy.”
The third topic that Kohavi is expected to discuss with his American counterparts is the deteriorating situation in Lebanon.
Videos emerging from the country show that the situation has led people to fight over essential products such as bags of wheat and sugar.
The economic crisis in the country has opened a door for Hezbollah to provide citizens with its own welfare and economic services. The organization opened a banking system, called al-Kard al-Hassan, which is gaining more and more popularity as time goes by.
Another issue Kohavi is expected to discuss concerning Hezbollah is the terrorist group’s efforts to obtain precision-guided missiles. While it is believed that Hezbollah has small numbers of PGMs, the project is considered to be highly dangerous as it gives the Iranian-backed group the ability to hit critical infrastructure Israel.
The fourth topic that the security delegation led by Kohavi will discuss with the Americans is tightening cooperation between the two militaries.
The US announced in January that Israel will be moved from the purview of EUCOM to the purview of CENTCOM, a move that will go into effect in the coming months.
While there is already good intelligence cooperation between the two allies, the IDF wishes to expand it.
This kind of cooperation is considered to be highly important in what is called the “war between the wars,” which includes IAF airstrikes in Syria as well as the maritime shadow war in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Oman.
The fifth topic that the Israeli delegation will bring to the table is increasing technological exchange.
Over the past year, Israel has delivered two batteries of the Iron Dome missile defense system to the US Army. The IDF uses many munitions that were developed and manufactured by the US.
Kohavi would like to promote a learning mechanism in which both militaries exchange information about the systems on a regular basis.
Relations between Kohavi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley are considered to be close. While this is Kohavi’s first visit to the US, Milley has already visited Israel as chairman three times.
The two first met when Milley was army chief of staff and Kohavi was the IDF deputy chief of staff.
The two will have a private dinner attended by their wives at the Milley’s private residence.
The question that remains is whether this closeness between the two officers will help Kohavi promote his and his country’s interests.