Secret Base in Israel Raises Questions About America’s Middle East Involvement
The United States military has maintained a footprint throughout the Middle East for decades despite proclamations made by various Commanders-in-Chief that operations in those countries have come to an end. American soldiers stationed throughout Iraq and Syria should raise their own questions on American involvement in the region, but a story published by The Intercept surprised even this Forever War veteran.
The United States has a secret military base in Israel, a whisper away from Gaza, and has been putting in motion behind-the-scenes activity to beef up the base for future operations. Not only was this base in place before the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7th, but the plans to pour taxpayer dollars into the base were made before the attacks.
How Israel and the international community at large were taken by surprise on October 7th with a U.S. base so near Gaza and why is it that this base has been covertly built up are just two questions that immediately come to mind. However, the more pressing question is why the mainstream media doesn’t seem to care.
US secret base in Israel known as Site 512 located in Negueb desert on top of mount Har Qeren. US has said there are no US troops on ground but there are there. pic.twitter.com/NcW5AGX4qr
— Bharwana (@pain___killer) October 28, 2023
A base by any other name
The Intercept introduced the world to “Site 512” last week, describing it as a radar facility meant to monitor for missile attacks about 20 miles from Gaza. The reason Site 512 didn’t detect the attacks from Hamas was because the base allegedly focuses on attacks from Iran, not from Iranian proxies within Gaza.
Government records obtained by The Intercept describe this site as a “classified worldwide” project and a “life support area” and perhaps the most transparent of the obfuscations, a “cooperative security location.” Former CIA counterterrorism center analyst Paul Pillar told The Intercept:
“Sometimes something is treated as an official secret not in the hope that an adversary would never find out about it rather the U.S. government, for diplomatic or political reasons, does not want to officially acknowledge it.”
This concept makes sense with regards to Site 512, given the United States’ historical desire to appear neutral regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Keeping Site 512 hidden allows for the United States not to appear to be directly providing direct military support for Israel in a region not known for accepting such overt Western involvement in the region.
Two months before the attacks in Israel, the Pentagon awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to build troop facilities on Site 512. Before the attacks, the Department of Defense set in motion the expansion of Site 512 to house U.S. soldiers.
For being blindsided by the Hamas terror attacks, the Pentagon was curiously preemptive in its contractual actions for Site 512.
Mike Johnson, the new GOP Speaker of the House, tells Sean Hannity:
– "We can't allow Putin to prevail in Ukraine"
– US "boots on the ground" may be required to "stand with Israel"
– Supports Israel directly attacking Iran
– Russia, China, and Iran are "the new Axis of Evil" pic.twitter.com/1dQAZqpMKn
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 27, 2023
A few troops here, a few troops there
Since October 7th, U.S. soldiers have been attacked 23 times. These attacks have occurred on bases in Iraq and Syria.
I was in uniform when the announcement was made that the United States would begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. While the decision to withdraw from Iraq had been made, I knew many fellow service members who were still sent to Iraq post-withdrawal.
The mission set had changed from an active wartime operation to one focused on “training” and “advising” the Iraqi forces to fight ISIS. The words the government and, in particular, the defense complex uses to describe military activities are essential to not just maintaining footprints in foreign countries but also continuing Congressional funding for these adjusted missions.
Remember that time Trump tweeted an order to withdraw all US troops from Syria, and everyone went nuts — calling it a gift to Putin — then the withdrawal just never happened. Now those same troops are potentially being used to draw the US into a giant new war in the Middle East pic.twitter.com/z4xnsl2eJr
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 23, 2023
There are approximately 45,400 U.S. service members and contractors in the Middle East. This number is not all-inclusive, as it includes no troops or contractors within Israel.
The attacks on bases in Iraq and Syria have resulted in two dozen American military personnel sustaining wounds, albeit non-life-threatening… so far. What happens when an attack results in American deaths?
A reserved right or bait?
On October 18th, a leader of the Iraqi military group Kataib Hezbollah wrote:
“The Americans are essential partners in killing the people of Gaza and therefore they must bear the consequences.”
A few days later, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said:
“What we’re seeing is a prospect of a significant escalation of attacks on our troops and our people throughout the region.”
Both of these statements are tied to the current level of attacks on U.S. personnel in the Middle East. So far, these attacks haven’t resulted in casualties.
Still, experts are warning that attacks against American helicopters flying over Iraq or the use of roadside bombs that killed thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last two decades could be the next steps in these escalations.
Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said of the recent attacks against U.S. personnel in the Middle East:
“We always reserve the right to defend ourselves, and we will never hesitate to take action when needed to protect our forces and our interests overseas.”
Are our interests rooted in the destruction of terrorism, or is our interest of a more economic and political nature? As with military entanglements since the dawn of time, the truth is always less virtuous than what is sold to the populace.
There are 3 different types of weapons — some already in short supply — that both Ukraine and Israel want the US to provide more of to them.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 22, 2023
How it begins, how it will end
Just as with Ukraine, the claim that the United States hasn’t committed U.S. boots on the ground in Israel is not entirely valid. The argument made by the administration and the Pentagon is that U.S. troops aren’t actively engaged in combat operations in Israel, just as they aren’t in Ukraine…yet.
However, Secretary Austin did admit that there is a small group of United States special operation forces troops working with the Israeli Defense Force in a “planning and intelligence” posture. The Pentagon has also stated that there is a “liaison cell” in Israel working with their special operation forces.
This sort of covert operations marriage between the United States, Israel, and Ukraine is what larger wars are born from. Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th, but this conflict is about much more than just Israel and Palestine.
BREAKING: US sends hostage rescue experts to Israel. Meanwhile, U.S. special operations forces have been placed on alert in a nearby European country, according to two senior U.S. military officials – The Messenger pic.twitter.com/xpZPC3m6pL
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) October 10, 2023
Just as the Ukraine war has become a proxy war between the United States and Russia, the Israeli war against Hamas is quickly becoming a proxy war between the United States and Iran.
General Ryder went on to state:
“What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region in the very near term coming from Iranian proxy forces, and ultimately from Iran.”
The talking point sold to the public is that these escalations are not wanted. However, with so many U.S. troops still in Middle Eastern countries we were meant to have left and secret bases bolstering capabilities in the region, it’s harder to sell the message that the U.S. isn’t looking for a fight.
The reality is the Forever War is living up to its name. The lack of mainstream media coverage of the secret U.S. base in Israel and questions regarding our continued presence in Iraq prove an overall acceptance of how our government perpetuates these never-ending conflicts.
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