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The PRIMER Blog

The Devil is in the Details

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

Do you read the fine print? Are you often surprised with its contents? That special deal turns out to not be so special after all. Today, in Israel, we are just now being told what our "fine print" contains. We all should be most concerned.

Yesterday I reported the following: Israel and Washington DC have signed a new 10 year defense agreement. Under the new aid agreement, the U.S. will transfer $30 billion to Israel over 10 years, compared with $24 billion over the past decade.

Israel is slated to receive the first pay out in October 2008, amounting to $2.550 billion. That sum will grow each year by $150 million, until it reaches $3.1 billion in 2011.

Several discussion points were presented. First, USA Administrations now feel they have the moral authority to require Israel to represent in action the USA's needs in the Middle East. By this I mean that America believes Israel must acquiesce to every political demand made upon her. Second, Israel seems to be making policy based upon these demands. For example, Israel is afraid to upset Syria as they mass battalions of soldiers along our border and as they place thousands of rockets on the border aimed at us. Israel appears to be so afraid that the Israeli Defense Minister, Barak, will not authorize gas masks to be dispersed to Israeli citizens.

However, today presents far greater consequences for Israel and the local media and international media are not even reporting to the public. Quite the contrary is presented to the world. Our "Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday commended the memorandum of understanding signed between Israel and the US outlining the $30 billion defense aid package Washington will provide Jerusalem over the next decade."1 The package deal is being sold to us as America's long-standing pledge of support for Israel. Even US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns praised this deal. Often the level of support and/or interest of a country can be displayed by the level of political office making the statement. Notice the USA chose an Undersecretary to announce this "significant" funding program.

It is true that during the past decade Israel has received billions of dollars in military aide from the USA; however, so have Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab nations. What did this capital investment produce in the region? For the answer one need only to listen to Mr. Burns yesterday.

"We look at this region and we see that a secure and strong Israel is in the interest of the United States," Burns said in a press conference following the signing. "The Middle East is more dangerous today than it was 10, 20 year ago...the regional dangers seem only to increase as Iran develops nuclear technologies and along with Syria supports organizations like Hamas, Hizbullah and the Islamic Jihad.1

The investment has produced a more dangerous Middle East. Curiously, our friends the Saudis and Egypt are exempt from criticism or responsibility for producing the current situation. Apparently Mr. Burns forgot about 911 and the Muslim Brotherhood to name but two additional reasons the Middle East is aflame.

Mr. Burns goes on to "let the cat out of the bag." The answer to the crisis here is to increase the funding to Israel (no mention of the strings attached) and to fund Israel's neighbors.

"We will continue to show the same support to our other allies in the region, like Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain...the road to peace includes showing countries like Iran and Syria that the US reinforces its allies' militaries. Every peace agreement in the region was signed with that notion in mind."1

What is not reported is the impact the support to Israel's neighbors will have upon our ability to defend ourselves. The US is now working on a $20-billion package deal to Saudi Arabia and five Gulf States (includes Egypt, Kuwait, and Bahrain to name a few). Those arms package details have conveniently been omitted in any reporting. What, if any restrictions are placed upon Israel's neighbors? However, we are told what we are allowed to buy, from whom we are allowed to buy it and then less than 25% of the total amount of assistance can be spent on Israeli products. These Israeli arms and weapons systems have been developed specifically to fight our local enemies and require very specific configurations in order for them to be effective. A limit has been placed on these systems!

Yet, you are told we have a qualitative edge-an edge, my goodness gracious, only an edge? So what if we have a qualitative advantage and frankly this is suspect. We have over 20,000 missiles aimed at our northern border; we have thousands of rockets aimed at our eastern border and thousands of rockets and now missiles aimed at us from Gaza. You can have a qualitative edge but if you do not have the quantity of interceptor devices, you lose! This notion of qualitative advantage is simply rhetoric meant to placate those of us living in Israel-it is nonsense! Israel has great concerns for the kinds of weapon packages being sent to our enemies. For example, we have been fighting the proposed sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which turn standard bombs into "smart" precision-guided bombs. As of this writing no final word from the USA; my sources indicate this sale will go through. The USA is giving the Saudis, the richest oil producing country on the planet financial aide. Does this not strike anyone as absurd? Does anyone believe that they cannot afford to buy our weapon systems from us? This is the country that has more Saudi citizens involved in suicide attacks in Iraq than nationals from any other country. This country funds the virulent strand of Islam; funds the creation of over a thousand new mosques in America and helps these same groups spread their message of hatred via educational programs with materials and resources beyond the means of most American counter groups. Saudi Arabia, its leadership that buys American politicians and has openly declared its repressive social system to the world is rewarded by aide from America. These details are left out of any report. We are asked to accept without argument the deal.

There is another detail that is not being reported in the media. Israel's monies are dependent upon the USA Congress granting permission to spend the monies reported today. Do you also understand the consequences of having to get Congressional approval every year for that year's monies? You do know that governments come and go, that influence shifts from administration to administration. To have these monies rest on this methodology is very, very dangerous. Do you really think Saudi Arabia is going to allow such action to occur? The strength of the Saudis influence in Congress transcends Israel's influence and the emerging Islamic political influence in the political scheme of the USA does not bode well for the future of Israel.

It is also disingenuous for the USA and Israel to say, But the proposed sale to the Saudis does not dilute the message of the US's security commitment to Israel.2 Even Israel's current leadership applauds this action, "The most important part of the agreement is the message it sends to Israel's enemies that America remains fully committed to Israel's security" so states Ron Dermer, Israel's economic attaché to Washington. Oh, by the way Mr. Dermer was the key force behind the agreement-what would you expect him to say? Let me understand the logic. Israel is given 10 billion dollars more and our enemies are also given access to USA weapon systems and we should feel a sense of relief?

The USA needs to gain fighting colleagues here in the Middle East as the USA begins to exit Iraq. The USA needs to have armed Arabs to counter balance nuclear Iran who is supported by America's other friend the Russians. The policy is to buy Arab friends-this is not a new strategy-it is simply a failed one. Time to tell the truth. If the Saudis really needed more weapons to defend itself against Iran, do you think that the Saudis would invest the monies needed for such an event? Of course they would, they are the Middle East cash cow. Do not be fooled-Israel is being sold a bill of goods; we are surrounded by multiple enemies who will soon have greater fire power than at any other time in the world's history. This will bring stability, not on your life. Yes, the details do get in the way of a good fairy tale!

End Notes

1. Herb Keinon, Livni praises US aid package to Israel, J. Post.Co.Il, August 15, 2007
2. Herb Keinon, Analysis: America's 10-year military aid package to Israel, J. Post. Co.Il, August 16, 2007



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