The Pentagon Welcomes Israel to the Middle East

January 28, 2021 | Shaul Chorev, Douglas J. Feith, Gary Roughead, Seth Cropsey, Jack Dorsett
About the author: Douglas J. Feith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the George W. Bush administration. He is writing a history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For decades, the U.S. military has divided the world into various regions, with one of them—Central Command (CENTCOM)—including everything from Egypt to Pakistan. A glaring anomaly in this system has been Israel, which until two weeks ago remained under the umbrella of the European Command. Shaul Chorev, Douglas J. Feith, Gary Roughead, Seth Cropsey, and Jack Dorsett praise the U.S. decision to include the Jewish state in CENTCOM’s ambit:

Arab officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain. and elsewhere now openly talk of Israel as a strategic partner in opposing Iranian aggression, Islamic State, and other Islamist extremist groups. Whether or not it ever made sense, the idea that Israel must remain out of Central Command was now clearly outdated.

Central Command planners should take full advantage of America’s military and intelligence relationships with Israel. It was neither necessary, advantageous, nor historically justified to exclude Israel from efforts by the Central Command to bolster its military plans through regional cooperation.

Israel’s inclusion in the Central Command’s area of responsibility adds to the ability of both states to respond effectively in a crisis. Moreover, this change now . . . enables direct coordination on the sea lanes and at strategic choke points of the Red Sea that are vital to Israeli security and prosperity.

Moving Israel into Central Command’s area of responsibility will facilitate military cooperation with Israel. And it might promote more contact and cooperation between Israel and the Arab states.

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