By – Jim Williams

Zenger International News Service Washington, D.C.

Overlooking the calm blue-green water of Tampa Bay you will find Mac Dill Air Force Base the home to the United States Central Command. USCENTCOM as it is known covers the “central” area of the globe located between the European, Africa and Indo-Pacific Commands.  

 It is about 6,600 miles from Tampa, Florida to Tel Aviv but the two cities are linked together as the war between Israel and Hamas rages on. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and USCENTCOM are working closely as they develop a plan to bring the hostages home, defeat Hamas while doing the least bit of harm to the residents of Gaza.

 USCENTCOM is run by Commander, General Michael E. Kurilla and he has made two trips to Israel sine the October 7th attacks. On October 17th he was in Tel Aviv “to conduct high level meetings with Israel’s military leadership” including Israeli Chief of Defense Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, according to a Pentagon statement.

 In a later statement issued by the Pentagon after his October 17th visit he had this to say “I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” General Kurilla declared.

 Kurilla has an extensive knowledge of the Middle East. Among his many assignments he has been involved with are Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Saudi Arabia/Iraq), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq) and serving as the Joint Staff Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counterterrorism.

 General Kurill and his team at USCENTCOM have not only state of the art satellite and computer intel technology to share with Israel they also have the boots on the ground old school person to person communications built up over years in the region. At present USCENTCOM has 46 countries (including Israel) that are part of their collision network.    

The information shared by USCENTCOM with IDF military leaders on how to fight in the door to door battles the Israelis are now using daily in Gaza. The relationship between USCENTCOM and the IDF will be key to not only winning the war with Hamas but the future of long term peace in the region.