Daily Briefing: ISRAEL JOINS CENTCOM AT TRUMP’S INITIATIVE (January 19, 2021)

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In waning days, Trump shakes up CENTCOM to increase Arab-Israeli efforts against Iran: Howard Altman, Military Times, Jan. 15, 2021

“While the move is good for the U.S.,” Jones said “it’s not always so good for our partners.” 

With just days left in his presidency and in a bid to solidify Arab-Israeli efforts against Iran before Joe Biden takes office, Donald Trump has shaken up the headquarters overseeing U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday evening that Trump has ordered U.S. Central Command to add Israel to the list of nations for which it has responsibility.

Moving Israel from U.S. European Command responsibility to CENTCOM was once a non-starter because of long-simmering tensions between Israel and its regional neighbors, who have been CENTCOM’s allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. It is the crowning piece of Trump’s efforts to stitch together disparate nations with a common enemy, following the signing of the Abraham Accords, in which Israel normalized relations with former enemies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Israel will become the 21st nation under CENTCOM’s purview, joining as it is increasingly cooperating with the Sunni-led Gulf States in an alliance of convenience against Shia-led Iran.

Regional ramifications as Trump seeks to include Israel in CENTCOM Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 16, 2021

“The move could improve operational cooperation between Israel, the UAE and other Gulf states. Reports indicate more states in the region are moving toward peace with Israel.” 

The US is moving to include Israel in Central Command, the military command that oversees a vast swath of the Middle East, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

For many years Israel and Turkey were included in European Command, because Israel was largely rejected by most countries in the region and it was difficult for the US to host Israeli generals and their counterparts, while Turkey is a member of NATO.

Why Israel’s in Massive Radar Deal With Slovakia Matters:  Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest, Jan. 14, 2021

The radars will be interoperable with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defenses. A changing NATO and a changing series of threats, such as drone swarms, makes this a necessity.”

Israel’s Ministry of Defense will deliver seventeen radar systems to Slovakia in a recent agreement. While it is worth €150 million, the heart of the deal is a broader context of Israel’s increasingly important role in central Europe and European defense in general. Across Europe there are many new deals with Israeli defense companies, some of which are directly with Israel’s government.

How Israel Is Adapting to the Growing Threat of Terror Armies Yaakov Lappin, Algemeiner, Jan. 6, 2021

“The Israeli defense establishment is playing a central role in the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, while also carrying out its many daily security missions. Yet at the same time, the defense establishment is also in the middle of an intense race against time.”

In November 2019, when the IDF and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fought a brief conflict, a new “member” of the Israeli military helped detect targets in record time, accelerating Israel’s strike rate and boosting the IDF’s ability to defend Israeli cities against terror operatives and their rocket launchers.

That member is an artificial intelligence-powered system that trawls through vast quantities of intelligence data, marking and recommending the targets it concludes are of the highest priority to disrupting enemy activity. The system, operated by the IDF’s new Targets Center, passed its first test during that escalation, assisting the IDF in hitting dozens of PIJ targets in Gaza. The Center is one of several IDF upgrades being made to adapt to a changing security reality.

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For Further Reference:

Cyprus, UAE sign first military cooperation agreement : AP, Jan.13, 2021

Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday signed their first military cooperation agreement as the eastern Mediterranean island nation seeks to bolster relations with nearby countries in the Middle East.

Israeli defense system delivered to US army to shield Abrams tankAlgemeiner, Jan. 6, 2021

A new defense system for armored vehicles, developed in part by a top Israeli defense company, was delivered in full to the US Army on Wednesday, according to an American contractor.

Trump leaves behind Arab world inundated with weaponryYnet, Jan. 8, 2021

The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced a new arms deal with Sweden’s Saab Group defense company, coming soon after the Gulf nation’s mammoth F-35 fighter jet deal with the United States.

Iran will respond to any attack by NATO or Israel:  Boyko Nikolov, Bulgarian Military, Jan. 19, 2021

Yesterday, January 18th, Iran announced that it was launching a procedure to build an “axis of resistance” in response to all future attacks by NATO and Israel. The Lebanese news agency Al-Masdar News published this information. The news source is a member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran – Abu Fadl Abu Trabi.

In the global artificial intelligence arms race, a thriving local ecosystem gives Israel the Lead: CTec Staff, Algemeiner, Jan. 6, 2021

The field of artificial intelligence has long ago broken out of the niche category and over the past decade has become a sort of basic infrastructure, similar to electricity, roads, or the internet.