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Chair of US Joint Chiefs of Staff arrives in Israel for talks

February 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived in Israel on Monday where he will be a guest of his Israeli counterpart, Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

During his stay, General Martin Dempsey will meet with a number of senior IDF leaders to discuss means of cooperation between Israel and the US, and to review “mutual security challenges”. Dempsey will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

According to an article in Yedioth Ahronoth written by Nahum Barnea, the Israelis will use the opportunity to present to the US their vision of a solution for the dilemma that America is facing regarding the crisis in Syria. They will also address the debate between those who call for supporting the Assad regime to prevent the rise of extremist Islamists, like Al Qaeda and Jabhat Al Nusra, and those who believe in the need to topple Assad’s regime first, through reinforcing the Free Syrian Army.

Barnea said that Israel’s plan depends on two distinct phases. The first includes providing more assistance to the Free Syrian Army, especially weapons and equipment, along with a no-fly zone. Israel believes that the US is capable of imposing a no-fly zone on the Syrian Air Force at little cost.

The second phase would be implemented after Assad’s ouster. Israel wants the Americans to support Syria’s secularists in expelling jihadi movements out of the country. Although this is a theoretical solution with no guarantees, Barnea believes that Israel is convinced that it is possible.