Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said in an interview published Monday that plans to attack Iran have been “greatly accelerated.”
The IDF chief told Israel’s Walla News that “a significant chunk of the boost to the defense budget, as was recently agreed, was intended for this purpose. It’s a very complicated job, with much more intelligence, much more operational capabilities, much more armaments. We’re working on all these things.”
Kohavi framed Israel’s attacks throughout the region as action against Iran. He said the IDF’s current objective is “minimizing Iranian presence in the Middle East, with an emphasis on Syria.” Israel is constantly bombing Syria. These airstrikes are rarely acknowledged by Israeli officials, but when they are, the Israelis claim they are attacking Iranian forces. But the bombings mainly target Syrian troops and members of Iraq’s Shia militias.
Kohavi also said the IDF is preparing for attacks on Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has a history of attacking Iranian nuclear facilities covertly, and Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett recently said such attacks will continue.
Since Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi has taken office, Israeli officials have stepped up threats against Iran. The rhetoric is part of an overall strategy to pressure the Biden administration into not returning to the Iran nuclear deal.
During a recent meeting with Bennett, President Biden said if diplomacy with Iran failed, he was ready to “turn to other options,” which Iran took as a threat. Such close coordination with Israel on Iran leaves little hope that the Biden administration will return to the nuclear deal.