Jerusalem, 22 June, 2022 (TPS) — IDF Chief of the General Staff LTG Aviv Kochavi hosted CENTCOM Commander Vice Admiral James Malloy and senior officials from the IDF and US CENTCOM on Tuesday and briefed them on “the joint operational challenges of both militaries and opportunities for expanding the network of security cooperation in the Middle East.”
“This cooperation is measured not only in capabilities and defensive means, but also in the learning and mutual commitment which stems from the long-lasting partnership between our two countries,” Kochavi stated.
Israel has been working on an extensive program to strengthen cooperation with the countries of the region, under the auspices of the US Army’s Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for the Middle East, including Iran.
The IDF was transferred to CENTCOM from EUCOM in January 2021 after the signing of the Abraham Accords with the UAE and Bahrain. Since its transfer, the IDF has held several drills with US forces stationed in the Middle East.
In November, for instance, the IDF Ground Forces and US Marine Corps Forces Central Command (MARCENT) troops completed a two-week-long multi-force training exercise conducted in Israel. The US Marines trained alongside IDF troops with an emphasis on open and urban field combat. The exercise included 500 US Marines staging a beach-storming drill in Eilat.
Touching on the recent extensive cooperation program in the Middle East, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that the Middle East Air Defense Program (MEAD) has already thwarted Iranian attempts to challenge Israel and other countries, apparently confirming reports that Israel has developed a regional defense system shared with other Arab countries in the area, possibly with other members of CENTCOM.
Recent reports in the media told of unprecedented actions that have recently been taken by Israel to strengthen operational cooperation with neighboring air forces, with the objective of expanding Israel’s strategic depth and its ability to intercept threats beyond the country’s borders while defending the other countries as well.
Some reports say that Israel has deployed advanced warning systems in several Gulf countries, including in some that do not have official ties with the Jewish state, essentially creating a regional defense umbrella.
Most of the collaborations are confidential so as not to embarrass the partners in the emerging alliance. The parties’ common interest is the defense against the spread of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) sponsored terrorism, which includes attacks with drones and cruise missiles on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by Iranian proxies, including the Houthis in Yemen.