U.S. CENTCOM Commander Endorses Linkage

The Commander of the U.S. military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) has joined his predecessor, Gen. David Petraeus, in endorsing the concept of linkage.

The notion of linkage contends that a festering Arab-Israeli conflict takes a strategic toll on the U.S. in the Middle East.

In an Congressional testimony, CENTCOM head Gen. James Mattis said that while Israel and the Occupied Territories are outside of his purview, they affect “U.S. security interests in the region.” He described a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “the only reliable path to lasting peace in this region.”

The CENTCOM Area of Responsibility includes nearly all countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Here’s the relevant bit from Mattis’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, via the American Forces Press Service:

Mattis said while Israel and Palestine aren’t in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility, lack of progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace affects U.S. security interests in the region.

“I believe the only reliable path to lasting peace in this region is a viable two-state solution between Israel and Palestine,” he said. “This issue is one of many that is exploited by our adversaries in the region, and is used as a recruiting tool for extremist groups.”

By contrast, Mattis said, substantive progress in the peace process would improve CENTCOM’s opportunities to work with regional partners and support multilateral security efforts.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this said Mattis was interviewed by AFPS. Instead, the comments were made in Congressional testimony, which the article now reflects. A more broad quote of Mattis’s comments, as well as video of his testimony, can be found at the website of Americans for Peace Now.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.


One Comment

  1. I think a two state solution would be disastrous. Only a one state solution will work. Then it becomes an apartheid/democracy struggle. Ironically, I think that if Israel would simply do this, they’d have the very country they want with the ethnic enclaves for color and the pastiche of Muslim and Christian historic enclaves. Jews could simply buy much of that land once the tensions recede, a single democratic state could make that possible. Here in Texas we Whiteys are in the minority, but we still got the land and the levers of power. Israel will be no different. We’re still Christian and full of shit, and no Mexican gonna change that.

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