US and Israeli security officials in conflict over Iran and Hezbollah

Senior US officials have brushed off Israeli concerns over Iran and denied Hezbollah is a terrorist group.

These were some of the surprising details to appear from a meeting between US and Israeli officials last month at the White House which was convened to discuss the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah to Israel’s security.

The Israeli delegation is said to have locked horns with their US counterparts over Iran and Hezbollah according to a number of sources including PJ Media, several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organisations involved in national security and by a source within the Israeli government.

Israel sent its team to Washington on 27 August to discuss what it believes is the looming threat posed by Iran and its proxies in the region. They had hoped that members of the Trump administration would fall in line and be on the same page.

That however wasn’t the case. National Security Adviser, General H.R McMaster is said to have brushed off Israeli concerns and at one point “yelled” at the Israeli delegation. Israeli officials are said to be most incensed however over the attendance of one of McMaster’s aides, NSC senior director on counter-terrorism, Mustafa Javed Ali.

Read: US lawmakers want fresh sanctions on Hezbollah

They allegedly became so outraged by Ali’s presence, because he denies Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation, that he was asked to leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss Israel’s specific concerns about Hezbollah, in particular, their concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

These fears were said to have been “blown off” by McMaster and instead his appointed aide became the centre of discussion.

Ali is one of McMaster’s new appointees who was brought into the security community by the general following the sacking of the previous national security adviser Michael Flynn. It’s claimed that McMaster had culled many of the appointments made by Flynn and filled them with more moderate voices.

Many saw Trump’s appointment of McMaster as a strange move. The general distanced himself from Trump’s anti-Islam rhetoric by advising his staff against using controversial phrases like “radical Islamic terrorism” which were regularly employed by Trump and members of his administration.

There is also a rumour that the NSC declined to schedule a talk on Daesh by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, reportedly because Ali accused her of Islamophobia.

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