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
Originally published in Mosaic Magazine