June 4, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Israel’s disastrous raid in international waters Monday on a Turkish-flagged flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza has resurrected a long-running debate over whether Washington’s close alliance with the Jewish state really serves U.S. strategic interests.
Ironically, one negative answer was provided in Jerusalem Tuesday by none other than the head of Israel’s vaunted foreign-intelligence agency, Mossad.
Noting, among other things, the disappearance of the Soviet and Western blocs with the end of the Cold War, Mossad chief Meir Dagan told members of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Tuesday that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.”
That view was emphatically re-asserted the following day by one of Washington’s most highly respected and centrist Middle East analysts in an essay entitled “Israel as a Strategic Liability?” that instantly became must-reading for regional specialists both in and outside the administration of President Barack Obama.
“At the best of times, an Israeli government that pursues the path to peace provides some intelligence, some minor advances in military technology, and a potential source of stabilising military power that could help Arab states like Jordan,” wrote Anthony Cordesman, a long-time fixture of the foreign policy establishment at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).