Israel operations should fall under U.S. Central Command, think tank says
By Mike Glenn
The United States should shift supervision of American military operations in Israel to U.S. Central Command rather than U.S. European Command where it currently rests, a leading pro-Israel lobby and think tank said in a just-released report.
The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) says U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for U.S. forces in the Middle East, is the proper military headquarters for U.S. military operations with Israel. Such a move would enable “improved strategic and operational coordination” among the U.S., Israel and Arab partners throughout the region against Iran and other shared threats, JINSA said.
For decades Israel had been assigned to U.S. European Command due to longstanding hostility from Arab countries within U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM.) The recent Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — along with their normalization of relations with Sudan — reflect what JINSA called a “growing strategic alignment in the region,” driven by Iran’s nuclear and regional threats.
“The U.S. should build on these successes by placing Israel under the area of responsibility of CENTCOM, enabling Israel and our regional partners to work more closely with U.S. forces in the Middle East on strategic planning, military exercises, intelligence and even operations,” said Michael Makovsky, JINSA’s president and chief executive officer.
“As the United States retrenches from the Middle East and Iran continues its aggression in the region, the U.S. can help Israel roll back Iran’s footprint and further U.S. security regional interests by placing Israel under CENTCOM’s area of responsibility,” Mr. Makovsky added.
JINSA raised the topic of shifting Israel from European Command to Central Command two years ago and the organization says the case is even stronger today.
“We understand the leadership of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a growing number of countries in CENTCOM’s (area of responsibility) do not oppose such a move,” JINSA officials said.
The move would also align the Department of Defense and the State Department, which places Israel under its Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs with much of the Middle East, JINSA said.
Originally published in The Washington Times