The US’ top general sought to reassure Israel on Tuesday of “unshakable” US military support, despite deep strains in political relations over the prospect of a US-led nuclear deal with Iran and differences over Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey, who is on a visit to Israel, said he shared a core Israeli fear that sanctions relief for Iran following a nuclear agreement would allow Tehran to give more money to its military and its guerrilla proxies.
“My assessment is that I share their concern. If the deal is reached and results in sanctions relief ... it’s my expectation that it’s not all going to flow into their economy,” he said.
“I think that they will invest in their surrogates. I think they will invest in additional military capability,” Dempsey told a small group of reporters in Jerusalem.
However, Dempsey said the long-term prospects were “far better” with an Iran that was not a nuclear-weapons power.
He told Israeli defense officials that Washington would work to mitigate Iran-related risks, with or without a deal.
“That’s what my visit here has been about, reassuring them that we’re clear-eyed about the risks that Iran poses to the region and we will work with our partners to address those risks,” Dempsey said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented the planned nuclear deal as a threat to Israel.
US President Barack Obama, addressing Israeli television last week, renewed his assertion that a deal would do a better job than air strikes in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power, an ambition Iran denies.
As a deadline at the end of this month for an Iran nuclear deal approaches, Dempsey said the US and Israel had to be prepared for either success or failure in the talks.
“If a deal is made, we’ve got work to do. If a deal is not made, we’ve got work to do,” Dempsey said, hinting that the US military might eventually need to address the threat from Iran’s nuclear program if diplomatic efforts fail. “And I think we’ve built up enough trust and confidence in each other — military to military — that we’re prepared to do that work.”
The prospect of an increasingly assertive Iran has also unnerved Gulf states, which have in turn sought to build up their militaries, including with US weaponry. Obama hosted leaders of the Sunni Arab states last month in the US.
Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon voiced concern on Tuesday that Washington’s supply of advanced arms to Gulf Arab states to deter Iran could eventually challenge Israel’s US-backed regional military supremacy, if not addressed.
“Even if there are not now any hostile designs [among them] against us, as we know: In the Middle East, intentions are liable to change. The capability will without a doubt be there and this must be prepared for,” he said.
Dempsey, in a nod to the possibility of greater US defense assistance in the years ahead, said he discussed those concerns.
“Israel wants not only to overmatch them in technology, but they realize that there’s a size component to this as well,” Dempsey said.
He singled out discussions about future support to “thicken” Israel’s integrated air and missile defense system, its cyberdefenses, maritime security and explore counter-tunneling defenses.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of