RAMALLAH, Mar. 15 (JMCC) - A concern in the top echelons of the American military was revealed by Foreign Policy
magazine that the stagnating Israeli-Palestinian conflict--and perceived overwhelming US bias towards Israel--is eroding the military's standing in the region. According to FP
, a message was conveyed by General David Petraeus to Joint Chief of Staff Mike Mullen to the effect that Israeli policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians were undermining the security of US soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On Jan. 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) too old, too slow ... and too late.
The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus's instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling, a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding. But Petraeus wasn't finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank
(which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command -- or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus's reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region's most troublesome conflict...
the full article at Foreign Policy