As U.S. Leaves Mideast, Backing Israel Becomes More Critical to Keep America Secure

(Jerusalem Post) Lt.-Gen. (ret.) William J. Bender and Ari Cicurel - The U.S.' most capable regional partner in countering Iranian aggression continues to be the State of Israel. Since the American people seem determined to decrease America's military presence in the Middle East, the U.S. should bolster its support for Israel's campaign to degrade the capabilities of Iran and its proxy Hizbullah. This is the surest way of safeguarding America's national security interests against Iranian aggression, while simultaneously allowing Israel to defend itself by itself. Israel has firm red lines against any Iranian efforts to increase its operational capabilities to strike from Lebanon or Syria. By interdicting Iranian weapons transfers across Syria, Israel is both delaying a future war and creating optimal conditions should war erupt. The strike on Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was a strong statement of American resolve, and time will tell whether the U.S. will continue to use military force when warranted. The U.S. and Israel should also continue jointly innovating and developing new unmanned air, ground, subsurface and undersea vehicles. These technologies are ideal for countering Iran's tactics because they allow either the U.S. or Israel to launch asymmetric attacks and reconnaissance missions. The U.S. should work with Israel to help uphold UN arms embargoes by interdicting Iran's offshore weapons shipments. The U.S. has previously interdicted weapons bound for Yemen. As the U.S. decreases its military presence in the Middle East, Israel will become even more critical to preventing the spread of Iranian influence throughout the region. Helping Israel to wage its campaign will thus help keep America secure and may even significantly push off the next war. Lt.-Gen. William J. Bender, USAF (ret.), is a former Air Force chief information officer. Ari Cicurel is a senior policy analyst at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

2020-02-21 00:00:00

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