by: Ilse Strauss
Monday, 22 June 2020 | The Middle East is arguably one of the most explosive neighborhoods on earth, perpetually embroiled in anything from violent altercations to all-out war among tribes, cultures, belief systems and nations. Amid the battling extremist factions, terror regimes and genocidal dictators—many of whom hold Israel firmly in their crosshairs—one antagonist stands out.
According to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, the Islamic Republic of Iran is now the most precarious role-player in the region—and the Jewish state’s most formidable foe.
Kochavi ascribed Tehran’s top spot as “the most dangerous country in the Middle East” to the mullah’s “significant progress with its nuclear program,” extensive arsenal of “conventional weapons” and leading role in terror activities against Israel.
He warned that despite the considerable distance between Israel and Iran, the Islamic Republic finances groups operating on Jerusalem’s doorstep and has thus entrenched itself within easy striking distance. Referring to the three circles of direct threats against Israel—the first, smaller terror groups perched on the Jewish state’s borders like Hamas and Islamic Jihad; the second, larger threats like Hezbollah and the armies of neighboring enemy nations; and the third, hostile countries that do not share a border with Israel like Iran and Yemen—Kochavi conceded, “True, it is in the third circle, but it is most influential in the first and second circles.”
Israel has made every effort to stymie Iran’s effect on terror groups in the first and second circles. Jerusalem last year admitted to conducting hundreds of airstrikes to prevent the entrenchment of Iranian militia in war-torn Syria and thwart the transfer of advanced weapons from Tehran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Kochavi spoke yesterday at the army headquarters in Tel Aviv during a ceremony appointing Maj.–Gen. Tal Kalman as the first head of the newly formed IDF Planning Directorate.
The directorate will focus primarily on countering the threat of Iran and other third circle countries. The rationale behind its formation is tasking a major general with the primary mission of keeping Israel safe from Iran in the same way as there is a major general leading the fight against Hezbollah and another leading the fight against Hamas, the Times of Israel reports.
“The reality of recent years has changed significantly—the global and regional environment are very dynamic,” Kalman said. “Faced with these challenges, the IDF is required to operate in a variety of arenas and dimensions.”
Posted on June 22, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 22, 2020)
Photo Credit: Operationalcow48/wikipedia.org
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