April 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

CENTCOM Commander Lands in Israel Amid Iran Threats

April 11, 2024 | Flash Brief

CENTCOM Commander Lands in Israel Amid Iran Threats

Latest Developments

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla arrived in Israel on April 11 amid increasingly bellicose threats from Iran. The Tehran regime has threatened to “punish” the Jewish state for an airstrike in Damascus on April 1 that killed an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander. Kurilla will meet with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi during the multi-day visit. At an earlier meeting in March, Gallant and Kurilla discussed “rising regional challenges as a result of Iranian aggression via proxies,” Gallant said. The Israeli defense minister emphasized at the time that the two had underscored the “importance of close cooperation between U.S. and Israeli forces to ensuring regional stability and security.” Israel has prepared for various scenarios involving an attack by Iran.

Expert Analysis

“Despite the public political turmoil between Biden and Netanyahu that has been a gift to Hamas and its Iranian patron, U.S.-Israel military cooperation continues and will continue. That’s because bilateral cooperation serves the core national security interests of both countries. A weak response to Iranian aggression would simply invite more of the same and risk more American or Israeli casualties. A review of history demonstrates that Tehran tends to back down when confronted with the resolute application of American military power.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“The projection of close U.S.-Israel military cooperation and the determination to respond forcefully to Iranian threats were missing ingredients just 48 hours ago. The president’s remarks yesterday and Gen. Kurilla’s visit today are critical resets in the political environment that Tehran must now factor into its calculus.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“U.S. support for Israel amid Iran’s increasing threats is essential for the security of Israel and stability in the Middle East. Iranian-backed proxies have been increasing attacks on Israel since Hamas carried out its massacre in Israel on October 7. Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen have launched attacks on Israel. The visit by the head of U.S. Central Command is an important symbol of U.S.-Israel ties and comes at an essential time due to the Iranian threats.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

President Biden Warns Iran Against Attack on Israel

President Biden vowed “ironclad” support for Israel on April 10. “We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security” in the face of Iran’s threats, Biden said during a press conference. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with Gallant via phone on the evening of April 10 and said that the United States “will stand with Israel against any threats by Iran and its proxies,” according to a State Department readout. Blinken also “discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of all hostages through an agreement for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Speaks With Arab Countries

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Iraq to “discuss the recent developments in the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip,” Iranian pro-government media said on April 10. In a call with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Iranian top diplomat slammed “Israeli crimes.” Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of the IRGC Navy, claimed on April 9 that Israel’s presence in the UAE is a “threat” to Iran. Tangsiri also panned the UAE for its ties with Israel.

The consequences of US weakness in Iraq and Syria,” by Bradley Bowman and Cameron McMillan

Israel to Iran: Any Direct Attack Will Be Answered in Kind,” FDD Flash Brief

Senior IRGC Leader Killed in Damascus Air Strike,” FDD Flash Brief

CENTCOM and Israel Coordinate on Increased Threats from Iran,” FDD Flash Brief


Gulf States Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Politics and Economy Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power Syria U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy