Top General Heads to Israel as Iran Fears Rise

By Haaretz

Published January 14, 2012.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday for talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, and other senior defense and intelligence officials.

The visit comes as the United States attempts to coordinate with Israel on the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and to determine Israel’s intentions with regard to a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Dempsey may also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ahead of Dempsey’s visit, the Wall Street Journal published statements by senior American officers who said the United States had increased preparations for a possible Israeli attack on Iran. They also said the United States has refreshed plans for defending American installations in the Middle East in the event of a retaliation by Iran.

One senior officer told the Wall Street Journal that the United States’ concerns regarding a possible Israeli attack on Iran were increasing.

In November, following a visit to Israel by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu and Barak had refused to vow against attacking Iran without first coordinating with the United States.

According to the Wall Street Journal, both U.S. President Barack Obama and Panetta have conveyed messages through quiet channels to senior Israeli officials regarding the serious implications of an Israeli attack on Iran. They also reportedly told Israel it should allow more time for sanctions on Iran to take effect.

In the meantime, the United States is preparing for various scenarios following an Israeli attack on Iran, senior American officials reportedly told the Wall Street Journal. These include an attack by Shi’ites in Iraq on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. There are currently 15,000 U.S. citizens in Iraq.

For more, go to Haaretz.com



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