Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been named the 25th most influential person in U.S. defense for 2013 by Defense News, a Gannett Government Media publication.
Not surprisingly, the annually-complied Defense News 100 most Influential People in U.S. Defense list includes some of America's enemies and the leaders of countries that are considered hostile to the United States. Also included are American government officials, industry leaders, policy makers and lobbyists. But the list also names the leaders of some U.S. allies.
Chinese President Xi Jinping topped this year's list, with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice second and Defense Secretary Chick Hagel coming only third. According to the list, CIA Director John Brennan (#5) has more influence on U.S. defense than Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff (#6). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (#4), rose 12 spots, while his predecessor, Hillary Clinton (#43), fell 40 spots.
Netanyahu, who was ranked No. 25 on this year's list, is described as a leader "fortified by populist support at home and powerful friends in Capitol Hill." The text accompanying the list says that after supporting Mitt Romney in the last U.S. election, the "well-connected Israeli leader… is now confronting President Obama on the top two items of his Mideast policy agenda," Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It cites Netanyahu's threats to attack Iran and his push for additional sanctions as the White House seeks a diplomatic solution to the nuclear threat from Iran, as well as the Israeli prime minister's declared support of the two-state solution, while continuing construction in West Bank settlements.
Other foreign leaders include Iranian President Hassan Rohani (#7), Afghan President Hamid Karzai (#26), Vladimir Putin (#27) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (#58).
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden came in 28th.
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