U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis Arrives in Israel to Discuss Syria, ISIS, and Iran

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis landed in Israel on Thursday to discuss the Syrian civil war, the fight against the Islamic State and the Trump administration’s policy on Iran.

Mattis is on his third day of a five-day tour of the Middle East, having already visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On his first trip to Israel in his current capacity, he will spend the next two days meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Mattis is also expected to discuss the monitoring of Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal with the major powers, as well as next month’s presidential election in Iran.

Mattis is considered a relative hawk on Iran. He has said that the three most urgent problems for the United States in the Middle East are “Iran, Iran and Iran.” Lieberman has also advocated a tougher policy on Iran, which he considers Israel’s main problem.

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SOURCE: Haaretz, Gili Cohen