In a sign of warm ties between the IDF and the United States military, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen declared Sunday during a visit to Tel Aviv that he always tries to view the regional threats from an Israeli perspective.

Mullen landed in Israel early Sunday morning for a brief stopover on his way back to the US from visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mullen met at length with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin.

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Ashkenazi thanked Mullen – who was on his fourth visit to Israel – for promoting the ties between the US military and the IDF.

“I consider him a personal friend when it comes issues pertaining to Israel‚s security,” Ashkenazi said.

Mullen said that his meetings in Israel were of immense importance.

“We have met many times, but the meetings here to me are oftentimes the most important because it is recognition of the importance of the relationship, the strength of the relationship and the criticality of the relationship and the constant need to focus on issues that continue to emerge and challenge the both of us,” Mullen said.

Later in the day, Ashkenazi convened the top military brass for a meeting with Mullen, including OC Strategic Planning Directorate Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the IDF’s attaché to Washington DC Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni and the Navy commander Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom.

Talks focused on regional threats, including Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s continued support of Hizbullah as well as the guerrilla group’s rearmament in Lebanon.

His visit to Afghanistan was aimed at reassuring Kabul that the new NATO commander, Gen. David Petraeus, would not alter the military’s plan for fighting the Taliban.

During a 45-minute meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karazi, Mullen explained the events that surrounded President Barack Obama’s decision to dismiss Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of both US and NATO forces. McChrystal resigned after he and his aides were quoted in Rolling Stone magazine making disparaging remarks about top Obama administration officials guiding the civilian mission in the war.

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