Dempsey: Instability in region creates opportunity for Israeli-Arab alliances

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Instability in the Middle East may lead Arab nations to consider cooperation with Israel, the U.S. military chief said.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday described for reporters his discussions with Israeli officials while he was in the country for a visit.

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While Persian Gulf states “may not have been as open-minded about the potential for cooperation with Israel in any way,” he was quoted as saying by the American Forces Press Service, “what we discussed was the possibility that there were opportunities that would present themselves because of the instability around them that could create a different web of alliances than existed before.”

Dempsey identified Iran’s efforts to extend its influence and the spread of al-Qaida-influenced terrorism as common threats.

“I think there are enough issues across the region in common that it should provide an opportunity for greater cooperation,” Dempsey was quoted as saying by the press service, part of the Pentagon’s information arm. “So our allies become allies with each other.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he favors closer cooperation with Arab nations, particularly regarding containing the perceived threat from Iran and keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.

Arab leaders, while acknowledging a shared concern with Israel over Iran, have said that cooperation with Israel is unlikely until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

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