US CENTCOM commander to visit Israel this week to talk Iran, normalization with Arab states

U.S. CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. will arrive in Israel on Thursday for top-level meetings on the Iran nuclear threats and Israel’s burgeoning ties with Arab states.

By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner

The commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, will visit Israel on Thursday for the first time under the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.

Israeli news site Walla reported Sunday that sources have indicated the visit will be an important one, due to ongoing regional tensions and in particular the likely reopening of U.S. negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Also on the likely agenda will be expanding Israel’s burgeoning relationships with Sunni Arab and Muslim states, four of which have recently normalized relations with the Jewish state.

The visit comes shortly after former president Donald Trump transferred responsibility for issues related to Israel from the U.S. European Command to CENTCOM.

McKenzie’s visit comes among heightened high-level military coordination between Israel and the US.

Last month, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Israel for the third time in a year.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi is reported to hold video conferences once a month with Milley, and twice a month with McKenzie.