03.08.18

Senator David Perdue Questions U.S. Military Commander About Russian & Iranian Aggression

Commander reaffirms commitment to supporting the defense of Israel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, about the Iranian drone that recently infiltrated Israel’s airspace and continued acts of aggression in the region.

Click here to watch the exchange or click on the image below.

 Senator David Perdue In Armed Services Hearing On U 

Iranian Aggression Towards Israel 

Senator Perdue: “I have a quick question about Iran and their increased activity in Syria. It appears they built a permanent base outside Damascus with a warehouse that’s capable of storing missiles that could hit Israel. We know they talk openly about a land-bridge from Tehran to Beirut. The changing situation in Syria certainly raises questions particularly with the latest aggression with the drone incident in Israel. How do you assess the current situation with Syria and what’s your command’s posture relative to the security of our ally Israel?”

General Scaparrotti: “My mission in EUCOM, with respect to Israel, is to support the defense of Israel. In fact, we have a large contingent there today doing an infant defense exercise and rehearsing those operations planned in defense of Israel, should they be needed. We continue to work close with them in a defensive means but we also stay very close to them with intelligence. As you know, they see Iran as an existential threat. They’re concerned about the posture of Iranian forces or Iranian-supported forces in Syria and perhaps that they might be intending to remain in Syria as this is resolved. They’re concerned about the missile technology they believe may be transferred from Iran to any of the extremist organizations or Lebanese Hezbollah to their north. We’re watching this very closely. I agree that a land-bridge between Iran through Syria would not be a good outcome.”

Russia’s Fight For Regional Dominance

Senator Perdue: “When you look at Russia’s facilities in Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Sevastopol in the Crimea region, it seems similar to what they’ve done in Georgia, Latakia, and Tartus in Syria, I’m concerned about these frozen conflicts. I’d like to get your update on the Georgia frozen conflict. What’s our posture there and the long-term strategy? You talked about the current situation in the Ukraine. What is the U.S.’s current posture, with regard to Ukraine and Georgia relative to what looks to be a solidification of Russia’s positioning in a crescent around Eastern Europe?”

General Scaparrotti: “I would state that as a partner, Georgia is a strong one. They provide forces to Afghanistan and others. Not a large country, but a good fighting force and a good partner. What we see there today when you look into the two areas that Russians have presence, those breakaway portions of Georgia, Ossetia, they are now working to bring them into the Russian Federation, in the sense that what you begin to see the use of Russian administration within those regions.”

Senator Perdue: “Putin calls them independent states now, those two states.”

General Scaparrotti: “He does, but neither one of them is recognized internationally as independent states. I don’t think there is maybe more than three or four nations in the world that accept his definition. What he’s doing is drawing them into his administration. In some of these countries where they have a presence, they have declared those soldiers able to become part of the Russian Federation military forces, or they have agreements they would become a part if there were conflict. You can see Russia drawing them into their orbit. I think if you go to Moldova or other areas where we have frozen conflicts, this is to their advantage because it helps secure what they see as part of their strategic depth on the periphery, once they’re in their area of influence.”

View Senator Perdue’s full questioning in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. European Command here.

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Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.