22 November 2003

US Seeks Israeli advice

Facing a bloody insurgency by guerrillas who label it an 'occupier,' the U.S. military has quietly turned to an ally experienced with occupation and uprisings: Israel.

In the last six months, U.S. Army commanders, Pentagon officials and military trainers have sought advice from Israeli intelligence and security officials on everything from how to set up roadblocks to the best way to bomb suspected guerrilla hide-outs in an urban area.

'Those who have to deal with like problems tend to share information as best they can,' Stephen Cambone, undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, said Friday at a defense writers breakfast here.

The contacts between the two governments on military tactics and strategies in Iraq are mostly classified, and officials are reluctant to give the impression that the U.S. is brainstorming with Israel on the best way to occupy Iraq. Cambone said there is no formal dialogue between the two allies on Iraq, but they are working together.

This is a disaster. Israel's occupation technique has succeeded only in radicalising the resistance to it and in violating the international law of human rights. The failure of Israel as an occupying power has been noted by four former Israeli heads of security. So Israeli advice is not likely to be of high quality.

The second point is that Israel's interests are not the same as the US national interest. Israeli military advice is more likely to serve Israel's interests.

Lastly, it's a disaster to be pushing a forward strategy of freedom to Arabs by methods and tactics recommended by Israel. Gaza on the Tigris used to be a bad joke. Now it's merely the military policy of the occupation.

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