U.S. in Iraq: The New Israel

Just another quick afterthought to yesterday’s post about how the U.S. presence in Iraq has altered the strategic logic of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Setting aside all of the non-strategic aspects of the relationship, which is admittedly a huge component, Israel has historically functioned as a U.S. proxy in the region — the surest and most reliable ally in terms of the broad alignments on which U.S. interests depend, and a security firewall that has come close to resembling a forward outpost.

Now notice what’s changed in the above equation. First, Israel’s current posture — obstructionist with regard to Israel-Palestine negotiations, belligerent with regard to Iran — no longer overlaps with America’s (read: Centcom’s) immediate interests. Second, the U.S. now has a security firewall in the region that actually is a forward outpost. It’s called MNF-Iraq.

In other words, Israel’s posture is jeopardizing U.S. interests at the very moment that its utility has diminished. By all indications, Israel’s obstructionist wing has not yet realized that.

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