WASHINGTON, April 01, 2014 —
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said he is pleased with his just-concluded U.S.-Israeli look at combating likely threats in the region.
The chairman has wrapped up two days of intensive talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Israeli Army Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the chief of the General Staff.
The talks were the latest meetings between both sides to review threats and how to address them.
“Israel would define its concerns as Iran, radical Islam and violent extremist organizations and instability on its periphery,” Dempsey said in an interview.
Iran dominated the security discussion, but not for its attempt to build nuclear weapons. “Two years ago, we all said that the Israeli clock was running faster than ours on the issue,” the chairman said. “I suggest to you that our clocks are more harmonized than they were.”
The Israelis are satisfied, he said, “that we have the capability to use a military option if the Iranians stray off the diplomatic path.”
During the meetings, there was no discussion about “can we do it or will we do it,” the general said. “It was just a statement of fact that we’ve made the commitment, we have the capability and we are prepared to use it if we need to.”
The Israelis, he said, were interested in the totality of threats posed by Iran, including arming militant groups including Hezbollah, threats posed by Iranian missiles as well as cyber attacks.
Both sides also examined how al-Qaida has changed over the past decade. “We concluded that our pressure has been successful, but that success has caused the network to adapt and that network has become more decentralized, more franchised -- very much more a network than a group,” Dempsey said. “Our conversation was what do we need to do, including seeking common purpose with some of our other allies.
“If we had the conversation with other allies in the region they would list the same concerns: Iran, violent extremists and cyber,” Dempsey said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)