Israel girds for Iran battle
US military chief arriving in Israel Sunday, will discuss implications
of Iran sanctions, other options with senior IDF officials; meanwhile,
PM Netanyahu heading to Moscow in effort to boost Russian support for
Published: 02.14.10, 00:36 / Israel News
Israel is joining the diplomatic action as the world approaches
decision time in the face of Iran's nuclear threat - Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen is arriving in Israel for a series
of discussions focused on Iran, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
is heading for talks in Russia for meetings with top Russian officials.
IDF officials say the meetings with Mullen will focus on "the
cooperation between the militaries and joint security challenges," with
Iran's nuclear race taking center stage. Officials are expected to look
into the implications of economic sanctions, while also examining other
Admiral Mullen, who in the past has spoken out against the dangerous
potential of Iran's nuclear threat, will be holding his ninth meeting
with his host, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi.
Mullen recently said that an Iranian bomb would constitute an
existential threat for Israel, stressing that he and Ashkenazi share a
similar vision regarding the threat's scope and timetable.
Mullen's visit will be part of a regional tour for America's military
chief. He is arriving in Israel from Egypt and will be continuing to
Jordan. During his visit in Israel, Mullen will meet with Ashkenazi
twice, and is also expected to take part in a meeting with other top
On Monday, Mullen will be presented with a guard of honor at the IDF
headquarters in Tel Aviv. The admiral is also scheduled to visit the
Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, and meet with dozens of IDF
officials involved in the rescue mission to Haiti.
Bibi to meet with Medvedev, Putin
On another front, PM Netanyahu will make an effort to reinforce
Russia's contribution to the international campaign against Iran during
a series of meetings in Moscow.
During his two-day visit to Moscow, Netanyahu is expected to meet with
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and with Prime Minister Vladimir
The PM will also be meeting with Jewish community representatives and
top Russian news editors, and submit to interviews with the Russian
media. Here too, Netanyahu will focus on the need to impose stricter
sanctions on Tehran.
However, officials at the Prime Minister's Office said that the visit
will include other significant issues that Netanyahu wishes to promote.
"The bilateral issues, headed by economic issues, hold equal
significance to the Iranian issue or to discussion on the diplomatic
process between Israel and the Palestinians," an official in
Netanyahu's office said.