Pentagon Expands CENTCOM Mission to Include “Israeli” Entity
By Staff, Agencies
The US War Department confirmed on Friday that CENTCOM’s structure would be adjusted to include oversight for “Israel”, a major development that has been long sought after by pro-“Israel” groups despite legacy tension between Tel Aviv and its regional neighbors.
CENTCOM’s area of responsibility encompasses the Middle East and Central and South Asia, a region that stretches over 4 million square miles and has a population upwards of 550 million people.
This shift in protocol suggests that the “Israeli” entity could play a more central role in collaborating with regional partners to combat Iran, while also serving as a last-ditch effort by the Trump administration to shape US President-elect Joe Biden’s national security agenda.
Confirming the change-up, the department noted in a statement that Tel Aviv would be pulled from the US European Command’s area of responsibility, explaining that reassessments were conducted “every two years.”
“We structure boundaries to best mitigate risk and protect US interests and partners,” reads the statement. “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.”
“‘Israel’ is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between ‘Israel’ and our European allies,” it adds.
The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the shift, stated that Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine general and former head of CENTCOM, on Thursday told the outlet that “the timing could be right” to shift the “Israeli” entity under the military command as “we could see more Arab countries recognize ‘Israel’”.
“It will make security cooperation better. It would not have made sense in the past because there was too much mistrust,” he added.
In August 2020, the US brokered a normalization in relations between the “Israeli” entity and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco. The entity, however, it has yet to follow through on bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia.
The Pentagon did not specify how the new changes would affect future operations or planning.