The Pentagon Should Put Israel on Its Middle East Map

Given its global reach, the American military divides the world into various “areas of responsibility” each with its own unified command structure. Operations in Africa are thus supervised by the Africa Command (AFCOM), while troops stationed in Europe answer to EUCOM, and so forth. But due to the longstanding Arab hostility toward Israel, it was placed under EUCOM’s area of responsibility while the rest of the Middle East belongs to that of Central Command (CENTCOM). Michael Makovsky and Charles Wald argue that there is no need to maintain this irrational division of labor:

For years, Israel has been working closely with Egypt’s and Jordan’s military and intelligence services against Islamic State, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other common threats. That cooperation accelerated and expanded to other Arab countries as America retreated from the region—tilting toward Iran under President Obama—and Iranian and Turkish aggression filled the ensuing vacuum. The Abraham Accords marks a natural progression for this convergence of interests and rising cooperation.

Moving Israel to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility would enhance U.S.-Israel as well as Israel-Arab coordination on military operations, strategic planning, and early warning and critical-infrastructure protection—including against Iranian nuclear, conventional and terrorism threats. It would also enable the United States and Israel to extend their impressive operational and technical achievements on missile defense to the rest of the Middle East—paramount consideration amid regionwide missile proliferation by Iran and Hizballah. Further, it would enable more direct American and Arab learning from Israel’s hard-won lessons in its ongoing campaign against Iran.

It is true that several U.S. partners in CENTCOM still don’t recognize Israel. However, that was also the case for decades with EUCOM, which formerly included the Middle East and Africa. We understand some of these countries don’t oppose Israel’s inclusion, marking further progress in Israel’s ongoing diplomatic breakthroughs with Arab neighbors.

Read more at RealClear Defense

More about: Middle East, U.S. military, U.S. Security, US-Israel relations

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict