President Trump has ordered Israel to be covered under US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees US military operations in the Middle East. Israel previously fell under US European Command because many of Washington’s partners in the Middle East did not have formal ties with Israel.
But now, with relations between Israel and the Gulf states warming, President Trump took a step to bolster cooperation between countries who see Iran as a common threat. It’s a move many pro-Israel groups have long pushed for.
The order means US commanders that oversee operations in the Middle East will now work directly with Israel, like Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of CENTCOM.
“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,” the Pentagon said in an email to Middle East Eye.
While many Gulf and Arab states have not normalized relations with Israel, some key allies of Washington have taken the step, including Bahrain, where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based.
US officials have made it clear that a major aspect of the US-brokered Israel normalization deals is to further isolate Iran in the region. Israel and several Gulf states are opposed to the incoming Biden administration’s plans to return to diplomacy with Iran and are expected to take a united front against Joe Biden’s efforts.