US National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives in Israel today, where he will hold talks with counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat. The
US National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives in Israel today, where he will hold talks with counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat.
The two will focus on tensions with Iran after Tehran shot down a US surveillance drone last week. Indeed, President Donald Trump allegedly called off retaliatory action—a strike on three sites within Iran—ten minutes before the attacks were due. This is likely to increase unease in Israel, which opposes the Iran nuclear deal but would inevitably be drawn into a conflict between the US and Iran.
As a result, today’s talks are expected to see Bolton focus on the administration’s efforts to isolate Iran regionally and prevent escalation in order to ease Israeli concerns about regional stability. Given the volatility of existing tensions, it is unlikely that Washington will be able to do so while also being prepared to retaliate directly.
As a result, Bolton is expected to seek Israeli support for any stronger action taken against Iran if tensions continue to escalate. This could include reaffirming its long-standing Begin Doctrine of striking countries it believes are developing nuclear weapons as well as providing greater political support to Washington.
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