Dunford, Israeli Leaders Discuss Regional Issues
TEL AVIV, Israel --
Israeli officials today welcomed Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the country and presented him with an award for his personal leadership in strengthening U.S.-Israeli military-to-military ties.
Israeli army Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of the General Staff for the Israel Defense Forces, presented the medal of appreciation to Dunford in a ceremony before a full day of talks here.
The chairman will also meet with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
This is Dunford’s third trip to Israel as chairman.
The leaders will discuss the situation in the tri-border region, where Israel, Jordan and Syria come together, officials said. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has a presence in the region and is expanding its influence.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to support groups opposed to Israel’s existence, officials said. The United States designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, and earlier this year, Dunford said that from his perspective “the major export of Iran is actually malign influence across the region.”
The Iranian government also sponsors the terror group Hezbollah, officials said. Hezbollah has developed significant conventional military power as well as funding terrorist cells. Officials said that without Iranian money the group would not be able to survive.
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