Photo Credit: Mohamar Awad/Flash90
An arab family watching President Obama speak on TV

It was said then that Turkey used its NATO veto. But Israel was similarly not invited to the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul — not a NATO meeting.

Coming on the heels of Eager Lion 2012, a Special Operations exercise involving 12,000 troops from 19 countries (excluding Israel and including several countries at war with Israel), the counterterrorism forum was designed by Secretary of State Clinton to “build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism.” The State Department was responsible for the invitations, so Turkey had no veto. If the Administration had wanted to make the point that Israel is a valued partner in counterterrorism activities, it could have insisted that Israel be there or else moved the meeting.

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Perhaps as compensation, a U.S. delegation visited Israel separately. But private bilateral meetings are no substitute for leading by example so that other countries – particularly in the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia – understand that the United States sees Israel as a legitimate partner in solving regional problems, including terrorism, and that U.S.-Israel security cooperation is a priority of the American government.

Turkey is riding high with the Administration right now; and President Obama welcomed the Turkish Prime Minister in March as an “outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues” — including, apparently, in reducing relations with Israel.

ODNI’s determination to remove language about satellite intelligence from the Senate bill was most likely intended to ensure that the State Department and Pentagon were not caught between the Senate’s interest in keeping U.S.-Israel security relations strong, and Turkey’s interest in wedging Israel out of its place as an American security partner.

What an odd place for a U.S. intelligence agency to find itself. What an odd place for the Administration to find its intelligence agency — or what an odd place to put it.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute  http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

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