Hagel in Israel
by Stephen Lendman
Hagel wants America's imperium advanced.
On April 20, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began a weeklong Middle East trip.
Planned stops include Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Republic (UAE).
Late Sunday morning, he arrived in Israel. Discussions will focus on Iran, Syria, and weapons sales to regional allies.
A major arms deal with Israel sends a "very clear signal" to Tehran, he said. Asked if it suggests a potential military strike, he told reporters:
"I don't think there's any question that's another very clear signal to Iran."
"Israel will make the decision that Israel must make to protect itself, to defend itself in a very dangerous, combustible region of the world."
"I think it's important that we keep our eye focused on the objective. And there is no daylight at all (between Washington and Israel) - that Iran is prevented from acquiring a nuclear capacity."
He acknowledged "some differences" between both countries. At the same time, he stressed a "very special relationship." He ignored America's latest Iranian intelligence assessment.
On March 12, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Senate Intelligence Committee members what he's said before. No evidence suggests an ongoing Iranian nuclear weapons program.
"We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons," he said. Despite "technical expertise in a number of areas".we assess Iran could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of WGU (weapons grade uranium) before this activity is discovered."
None has been so far. Iran "wants to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities and avoid severe repercussions - such as a military strike"."
Annual US intelligence assessments say no evidence suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons program. US and Israeli officials know it. Targeting Iran unjustly continues. What follows remains to be seen.