- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

U.S. and Israel on Security Cooperation

  • Matthew Sparks
| Spring 2016

It is an undeniable fact that the Middle East is undergoing one of the worst periods of crisis in recent history. Civil war, regime collapse, mass emigration, and terrorism are but a few of the numerous problems facing the region. Moreover, the United States’ alliance with Israel has experienced its most turbulent period since the Suez Crisis of 1956 due to profound policy disagreements on the Iran nuclear agreement. Despite this strain, both American and Israeli officials emphasize that the need for close secu­rity cooperation between the two nations is more important than ever.

In recognition of this fact, a 15-member American delegation boarded planes for Tel Aviv, Israel, in late February to take part in the biannual U.S.-Israel Track II Dialogue. The conference was co-chaired by Ambassador Robert Blackwill, Belfer Center senior fellow and director of the Center’s U.S.-Israel Security Project, and Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, executive director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). The Dialogue consisted of a two-day roundtable on a wide range of national security challenges and a third day of meetings with senior Israel government officials in Jerusalem. Topics discussed included Iran, Syria, the Islamic State, energy security, Israel and the Palestinians, and U.S.-Israel relations.

The U.S. group was comprised of former senior-level U.S. govern­ment officials including the Belfer Center’s Graham Allison, James Cartwright, Meghan O’Sullivan, and Gary Samore. Thirty former and current Israeli officials attended the Dialogue. Despite the dif­ferences of opinion in the recent past, all participants agreed that the current sit­uation in the Middle East calls for intensified collaboration and a shared security agenda. The Belfer Center's U.S.-Israel Security Project aims to help revitalize the bilateral relationship by facilitating strategic dialogue and analysis and fostering cooperation among experts from both countries.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Sparks, Matthew. U.S. and Israel on Security Cooperation.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Spring 2016).

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