James Mattis Calls Iran ‘Biggest Destabilizing Force’ in Region

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for defense secretary, Gen. James N. Mattis, has told Congress that Iran is the “biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East” and that the United States needs to forge a strategy to “checkmate Iran’s goal for regional hegemony.”

The retired Marine general provided his written responses on an array of policy questions to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is meeting Thursday morning to take up his nomination for defense secretary, as well as to consider the legal waiver that would be needed so that he could serve in the Pentagon’s top civilian job.

Military officers are barred by law from serving as defense secretary unless they have been retired for seven years. General Mattis left active duty in May 2013.

His responses, contained in a 56-page document that was provided to The New York Times, cover everything from military strategy to personnel policy. The document is intended to serve as a guide to lawmakers who will be questioning General Mattis, and it will become part of the permanent hearing record.
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On some issues, General Mattis appeared to take a starker view of the dangers faced by the United States than Mr. Trump.

While the Obama administration has held out hope for better relations with Tehran, General Mattis said he saw Iran as an increasing threat. “Iranian malign influence in the region is growing,” he wrote.

Source: / nytimes /

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