Few things go on with respect to America’s foreign policy in the Middle East without eventually being tied to Israel. Well the prospective US withdrawal from Iraq is the latest to fall into this category, as visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today voiced “concerns” about the impact the withdrawal of the 90,000 US troops would have on Israeli security.
Netanyahu claims that withdrawing the American troops after 7 years of occupation “could leave Israel vulnerable” and that it might even provoke an attack on Israel “from the east.” Exactly who would be doing this attacking is never stated, but Israel is bordered to the east by Jordan.
The comments came in the context of a meeting with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and sought to focus on “preparing” the Israeli military for this ill-defined “threat.” Presumably, this would mean more US military aid to the nation.
The US claims that it will draw down its troops in Iraq to 50,000 by the end of next month, though no one seriously expects this to actually happen at this point. The Status of Forces Agreement would also oblige them to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, though US officials are already floating the possibility of a new UN mandate to keep troops under UN command in the nation beyond this date. Either way, it seems hard to imagine how the war torn nation, whether it be war torn with or without American occupation forces, poses anything resembling a threat to Israel, with which it does not even share a common border.