In what was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the president ordered that Israel be integrated into Central Command (CENTCOM) for the first time ever, making it the 21st country to join.
Though part of the United States European Command (EUCOM) for many years, Israel is set to become the 21st country to join CENTCOM, which presides over the Middle East and Gulf region. This is of great significance concerning military strategy in the region, especially concerning the growing tension that involves the Gulf States, Israel, the US, and Iran.
In light of the recent normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and multiple Arab nations over the last four years, the Military Times said, “It is the crowning piece of Trump’s efforts to stitch together disparate nations with a common enemy, following the signing of the Abraham Accords, in which Israel normalized relations with former enemies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.”
The Abraham Accords, which have largely been accomplished in the last three months, have normalized diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, with others believed to follow in the future.
According to the Pentagon, the Abraham Accords opened the door for Israel to join CENTCOM. The Pentagon said, “The easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East.”
They added, “Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our U.S. Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies.”
Israel’s integration into CENTCOM provides the means for a significant upgrade in intelligence and military transparency in the region.
Retired Marine and former head of the Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, also voiced his optimistic outlook on the news. He presented that while in the past, such a move would have created more friction due to the lack of trust between Israel and the Gulf States. However, amid Israel’s longstanding friendship with the US and ever-improving relationship with Arab nations, he pointed out that there very well may be no better time than now.January 15th, 2021