US military head meets Israeli leaders
The top US military officer has pledged further military cooperation with Israel in meetings with the country's leaders, amid increasing worries about Iranian involvement in the Syria conflict.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.
They acknowledged that while the US and Israel differ on the Iran nuclear agreement, the two nations must also deal with malignant Iranian activities in the region.
The seven-nation nuclear pact formally took effect on Sunday and could eventually provide Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for constraining its nuclear program.
Netanyahu has condemned the deal as empowering Tehran to spread unrest in the Mideast while leaving the country capable of making an atomic bomb.
Iran, meanwhile, has sent hundreds of troops to Syria, joining allied Hezbollah fighters and Russian air strikes in an offensive to wrest key areas from rebels fighting the Syrian government.
Navy Captain Greg Hicks, a spokesman for Dunford, says the meeting at Netanyahu's residence included discussions about Islamic State extremists, Iranian influence and Iran's ties to Hezbollah.
"There's no shortage of challenges, and I think that there's common agreement that we have to stop this aggression in the region, but specifically the aggression that is aimed at Israel," Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.
"There's a lot to talk about - how to bolster our common security interests and Israel's ability to defend itself, by itself, against these and other threats." said Dunford, who took over as chairman on October 1, is on his first overseas trip as chairman.Dunford the new man as of October 1/2015- First stop- Israel
He said he made Israel his first stop, reflecting the important relationship the US has with the Israelis.
"I'm confident that the solution to those challenges is our cooperation and that's what I'm committed to, and that's why I'm here today," Dunford said as the meeting with Netanyahu started.
Dunford's visit to Israel coincided with the recent spike in violence around the country, including a bold attack at a southern bus station Sunday when an Arab armed with a gun and knife opened fire, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding 10 others.
During his two days in Israel, Dunford also met with Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, the commander-in-chief of the Israel Defence Forces at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, and with Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and other military leaders.
During the meeting with Yaalon, the two men briefly mentioned the expected discussions about a military aid package for Israel.
Hicks said the subject came up "in passing" and that additional talks are forthcoming.There is no way in hell these military aid package for Israel came up for discussion in passing
The discussions had been sidelined by the disagreement over the Iran deal. But in August, President Barack Obama indicated that conversations would "move rapidly" and would include next-generation missile defence programs.This article definitely goes with the previous two but each news item screamed for it's own space: