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US CENTCOM area of responsibility to include Israel after warming of Arab ties

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The Pentagon announced Friday that the US Central Command's area of operation- responsible for military operations and coordination in the Middle East and Central Asia - will now include Israel, in a turn of events after multiple peace treaties were signed between Tel Aviv and Arab states.

Previously, Israel was under the US European Command area of responsibility due to the animosity and tensions between Arab states and Israel.

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The Pentagon said that it reviews its Unified Command Plan every two years and “reassesses all boundaries and relationship against the operational environment.”

And last September’s signing of the Abraham Accords was a factor in the recent decision to include Israel in the CENTCOM’s area of responsibility.

“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.

The Pentagon said the move will open up “additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies.”

Brokered and mediated by the US and the Trump administration, the United Arab Emirates and Israel agreed to normalize ties last year. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco also followed suit.

Despite attempts and statements by the Trump administration that Saudi Arabia would also reach an agreement with Israel, the Kingdom has not budged on its call for an independent state for Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has said the Kingdom has always envisioned that normalization with Israel would happen, but the current focus should be on bringing Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table.

“We’ve always been open to full normalization with Israel, and we think Israel will take its place in the region, but in order for that to happen, and for it to be sustainable, we do need the Palestinians to get their state and we need to settle that situation,” Prince Faisal said last month.

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