National Security officials from Israel, the United States and Russia are set to meet together next week in what Israel’s leader has called an “historic and unprecedented meeting in Jerusalem.” Netanyahu made the comments on Tuesday, one day after the United States increased its troop deployment to the Middle East again amidst tensions with Iran.
The trilateral world power meeting in Jerusalem has been planned for weeks, with a report in May from The Times of Israel saying the meeting was expected to focus on Syria, including Iran’s military buildup in that country and US troop pullout from there. On Tuesday in comments published by his office, Netanyahu said the meeting “is a very important summit for ensuring stability in the Middle East during turbulent times.”
He continued, “What is important about this trilateral meeting, of the two superpowers in the State of Israel is that it greatly attests to the current international standing of Israel among the nations.”
The meeting also will come just days after the US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that “approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes” had been authorized for deployment in the Middle East, according to a press release posted to the US Defense Department website.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” said Shanahan on Monday.
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests. We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats.”
The American move follows maritime attacks on oil shipping by Iranian forces and was made the same day as an announcement by Iran, reported by the Fars News Agency, that their growing nuclear fuel stockpile was nearing the limits imposed by the international Iran nuclear deal. Furthermore, Iran plans to smash through the cap if Europe doesn’t provide better economic relief to Iran.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu wasn’t the only Israeli official commenting on Iran on Tuesday. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also mentioned the Islamic Republic in a warning to the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group—which is also a proxy for Iran.
“We warn Hezbollah not to impose Iran’s agenda on Lebanon, and we warn Lebanon not to be a base for attacks on Israel,” said Rivlin in comments published by Israel addressing the Hezbollah terror tunnels into Israel uncovered in the last six months.
“We are not eager to fight. But the IDF is alert and ready to respond to any threat and to any scenario. The State of Israel will not stand idly by and will ensure that citizens of Israel continue to sleep peacefully!”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 18, 2019)