Israel wants greater military cooperation with the U.S. to counter Iran

A former special forces commando, Bennett is the son of US-born parents and lives with his wife Galit and four children in the central city of Raanana [File: Yonatan Sindel/AFP]

TEL AVIV (GDC) — Should the US and Iran reach a new nuclear agreement, Israel will request new military compensation from Washington — including technologies that have not previously been exported to Israel, sources say.

Israel is weighing a request for “advanced systems” that would enable a preemptive strike on Iran should intelligence show Tehran has crossed the nuclear enrichment threshold needed to create a bomb, sources here tell Breaking Defense.

While Israeli sources would not say exactly what systems would be involved in the discussions, the capability could be applied to the Israeli Navy’s new Dolphin AIP submarines. According to regional sources, one of these submarines is always “in the vicinity of Iran.”

Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Cochavi said a few days ago that if Iran gets close to acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel will take offensive military action.

In addition, Israel has already asked the US to speed deliveries of the Boeing KC-46 tanker, aiming to have delivery of the first two planes moved to as early as the end of 2023 and the second at the beginning of 2024. It was originally planned for late 2025.

Although it is unclear when or if a new nuclear deal will be reached — UN experts last week announced that Iran has started the process of producing enriched uranium metal, raising red flags in Europe and Washington — Israeli concerns about a potential new deal are being compounded by the US exit from Afghanistan, and a sense that the American presence in the region is likely to shrink in coming years as the country pivots more towards a Pacific posture.

“These countries see the hasty pull out of the Americans from Afghanistan and they know what is coming their way” an Israeli government source told Breaking Defense.

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“We have great technology, which is constantly being improved, but quite often the end user has been left to deal with the complexity of these systems,” said Visual Logic Partner Andy Van Fleet.

That feeling has led Israel to open a strategic dialogue with other powers in the region concerned about Iran. But Israel is very worried by the new alliances that may be formed between some Arab states and Iran.

Mordechai Kedar, one of Israel’s foremost experts on regional issues, told Breaking Defense that an interesting and potentially dangerous political shift can be seen in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, two important countries for Israel.

“These two countries are clearly [diplomatically] approaching the coalition linking Iran, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, which has so far taken control of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen,” Kedar said.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet met King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman. The meeting was secret but it was leaked to the Israeli media. Israeli defense sources told Breaking Defense that Iranian efforts to gain greater influence in the region was one of the main issues in the meeting in the capital of Jordan.

“AI is going to change many things about military operations, but nothing is going to change America’s commitment to the laws of war and the principles of our democracy,” the Defense Secretary said.

Bennett also had a telephone call with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The two agreed to meet soon.

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