John Brennan makes surprise Israel trip over Syria concerns

The CIA chief met with Benjamin Netanyahu following recent Israeli airstrikes outside Demascus

By Natasha Lennard

Published May 17, 2013 3:10PM (EDT)

CIA director John Brennan has made a surprise visit to Israel in the wake of a series of Israeli airstrikes in Syria aimed at weapons stores believed to be Hezbollah-bound. According to Israeli media reports, Brennan met the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo. The visit was read by Israeli commentators as evidence of U.S. concerns about escalating tensions between Israel and Syria. A fullblown conflict between the two nations would risking further embroiling the U.S. in intervention in Syria. The Guardian reported:

According to a report in the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth, the visit stemmed from "the American fear of escalation in the region against the backdrop of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah's threats to act against Israel in the Golan Heights and the American sense that Israel is disappointed by the ineffectuality of the Obama administration with regard to the ongoing deterioration in Syria.

"It is assessed that Brennan was sent to Israel to co-ordinate a joint policy between the two countries and prevent Israel from taking action on its own in Syria."


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Benjamin Netanyahu Cia Israel John Brennan Middle East Syria