By Jennifer Rizzo
The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East singled out Iran as the only country actively trying to destabilize and spark violence in the region.
"Iran presents the most significant regional threat to stability and security," Gen. James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command, said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday. "Its reckless behavior and bellicose rhetoric have created a high potential for miscalculation."
Listing Iranian weapon capabilities such as ballistic missiles, long-range rockets, mines, small boats, cruise missiles and submarines, Mattis said future threats in the region "are increasingly maritime" and called on Congress to protect the budget to allow for proper equipping of his forces.
"I anticipate that we will need more maritime missile defense, anti-fast attack craft capabilities, amphibious ships and mine-countermeasure capability, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets," Mattis said in written testimony.
Mattis also detailed how Iran was helping Syria, a connection CNN's Barbara Starr reported about on Monday.
The general also warned of Syria's weapons stash, saying the country's regime has a substantial amount of chemical and biological weapons, a significant integrated air defense system, and thousands of shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.