With just days left in his presidency and in a bid to solidify Arab-Israeli efforts against Iran before Joe Biden takes office, Donald Trump has shaken up the headquarters overseeing U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday evening that Trump has ordered U.S. Central Command to add Israel to the list of nations for which it has responsibility.
Moving Israel from U.S. European Command responsibilty to CENTCOM was once a non-starter because of long-simmering tensions between Israel and its regional neighbors, who have been CENTCOM’s allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. 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.
Israel will become the 21st nation under CENTCOM’s purview, joining as it is increasingly cooperating with the Sunni-led Gulf States in an alliance of convenience against Shia-led Iran.
CENTCOM, led by Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., deferred questions to the Pentagon Friday morning.