from: Middle East News Line
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Scores of senior retired U.S. officers have warned of
the decline in American strategic cooperation with Israel.
Close to 50 generals and admirals have signed a letter that termed
Israel a key element in U.S. global strategy. In a letter organized by the
Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the retired
officers, who have toured Israel, said the Jewish state was highly important
to U.S. policy in the Middle East and Mediterranean region.
"We brought with us our decades of military experience and, following
unrestricted access to Israel's civilian and military leaders, came away
with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a
matter of great importance to the United States and its policy in the Middle
East and Eastern Mediterranean," the letter, released on April 2, read. "A
strong, secure Israel is an asset upon which American military planners and
political leaders can rely."
JINSA said the letter was organized in wake of an assessment by U.S.
Central Command that relations with Israel were harming Washington's efforts
to form alliances with Arab and Muslim countries. In March, Vice President
Joseph Biden was quoted as telling Israeli leaders that their policies,
including Jewish construction in Jerusalem, were endangering U.S. soldiers
in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"While we recognize, as [Centcom chief] Gen. [David] Petraeus did, that
American support for Israel is used by our adversaries to foment
anti-Americanism, we also recognize that the important countries of the
region won't like us any better if we shed Israel as an ally," JINSA said.
"They will wonder how quickly we will shed them when they are inconvenient."
JINSA has been lobbying the Defense Department and U.S. military
regarding Israel since the early 1980s. In January 2010, the organization
released a report that asserted that Washington was denying Jerusalem -- the
largest recipient of U.S. military aid -- a range of weapons in what could
harm Israel's military superiority over its Arab neighbors.
The letter, planned for publication in major U.S. newspapers, quoted the
generals and admirals as expressing "grave concern" over tension between
Jerusalem and Washington. The retired senior officers said they could not
rule out the prospect that "political differences may be allowed to outweigh
our larger mutual interests."
The admirals and generals said Israel and the United States have engaged
in defense and military cooperation at all levels. The letter cited
training, law enforcement, counter-insurgency as well as research and
The United States would require Israeli cooperation for a range of
threats, the officers said. They said this would include nonconventional and
ballistic missile proliferation as well as CI operations.
"As American defense professionals, we view events in the Middle East
through the prism of American security interests," the letter said. "In the
Middle East, a volatile region so vital to U.S. interests, it would be
foolish to disengage -- or denigrate -- an ally such as Israel."
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