In a move touted as a strengthening of the U.S.-Israel defense relationship, Israel entered the orbit of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) on Thursday, after years as part of European Command (EUCOM), according to media reports.
“The realignment, announced by the Defense Department in January strengthens the strategic US-Israeli defense relationship and offers opportunities to deepen operational collaboration between the Israel Defense Forces and CENTCOM’s many partners in the region,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
The change also reflects broader changes in the Mideast. Israel was consigned to the area of responsibility of EUCOM in order to avoid tensions between CENTCOM and the Arab and Muslim nations under its aegis, many of whom had no formal ties with Israel. Normalization with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and possibly Saudi Arabia in the future, as well as a shared enemy in Tehran, made the switch possible.