Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is heading to Washington DC to meet senior US defense officials and discuss the situation in Syria. Liberman is scheduled to meet Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Liberman and Mattis in US Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman departed for the United States last night (Tuesday) to meet senior US defense officials and discuss matters regarding Iran and Syria, his office said.
Liberman is expected to meet Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor John Bolton, as well as members of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, who have broad influence over the US military. According to Liberman, his meetings with the senior American officials will revolve around the Syrian crisis and Iran’s expanding influence across the region. The defense minister will also discuss the Israeli-American defense cooperation with the officials.
“I will [also] take this opportunity to thank my American friends for transferring the embassy to Jerusalem, a perfect gift for the 70th anniversary celebrations,” Liberman tweeted.
Liberman’s visit to the US comes as tensions are rising throughout the Middle East. The recent period, in particular, has been packed with bellicose statements by both Iran and Israel. Iranian leaders are calling for the destruction of Israel and threatening with attacks, while Israel has long been following the Iranian presence in Syria and warning that it will not hesitate to counter it militarily.
Yesterday, JOL reported that the Commander of CENTCOM Gen. Joseph Votel is visiting Israel and meeting defense officials, among them Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat. As mentioned, Votel’s visit comes at a time when Israel is worried about the possible evacuation of the American forces in Syria, which are under Votel’s command, following a rise in Iranian activities in the country.