A new book by an American military journalist and commentator reveals the extent of the US military presence on Israeli soil.
"Code Names," by William M. Arkin, exposes information about at least five US Army bases at secret locations throughout the Jewish State, including one at Ben Gurion Airport and another in Herzliya Pituah. The book also provides a long list of code names describing joint military operations between Israel and America.
Arkin is an independent journalist and military commentator for NBC and a former intelligence analyst for US ground forces. A front-page story in "The New York Times," based on one of the book's revelations has given the book broad publicity and granted it wide legitimacy.
Late Republican Senator Jesse Helms used to call Israel "America's aircraft carrier in the Middle East," when explaining why the US viewed Israel as such a strategic ally, saying that the military foothold in the region offered by the Jewish State alone justified the military aid that the US grants Israel every year. The new revelations also act to weaken the argument for Israeli policy decisions based on "American pressure."
Arkin claims that the officially "non-existent" sites across Israel contain $500 million worth of ammunition the United States keeps in Israel for wartime contingencies. The bases, called Sites 51, 53, 54, 55 and 56 don't appear on any maps and their specific locations are classified and highly sensitive.
"It's not just munitions," Arkin wrote in the Washington Post before the release of his book. "The United States has 'prepositioned' vehicles, military equipment, even a 500-bed hospital, for US Marines, Special Forces, and Air Force fighter and bomber aircraft at at least six sites in Israel, all part of what is antiseptically described as 'US-Israel strategic cooperation.'"
Israel is not the only country in the region to host US military bases, though. There are American military facilities in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the Gulf states, as well.