Monday, July 20, 2009

‘Israel Must Consider Ties with US when Weighing Attack on Iran’


"20/07/2009 Amid reports that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is heading to Israel next week for talks on Tehran's nuclear program, a senior US defense official has told The Jerusalem Post that an Israeli strike on Iran could be profoundly destabilizing and would affect US interests.

Israel needed to take its relationship with America into account in contemplating any such attack, he warned.

Gates, who last week described the Islamic republic's nuclear drive as the greatest current threat to global security, is set to spend six hours next Monday, discussing the Iranian threat with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He will also visit Jordan, according to officials involved in planning the trip.

In his interview with the Post at the Pentagon, the senior US defense official also suggested that Syria might be ready to "fundamentally" reorient its position toward the United States, which would include restarting talks with Israel, at a time when “Hamas and Hezbollah have been put "on the defensive" by Obama administration policies and events in Iran.”......

He said that when it came to Syria, the US still hadn't seen "on the Hamas or Hezbollah front that there's been any improvement," and “we're approaching a time where it's pretty clear the Syrians need to start showing pretty concretely that they're ready to start changing their behavior, not just their words.” Still, he said, "There is a change in that Syria is increasingly willing to have a productive conversation with us" and "there's reason to be cautiously optimistic.""

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