U.S.-Israeli Arms Deal a Warning to Iran

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


us-unveils-major-arms-deal-israel-saudi-uae-1366398500-authintmailOn Monday in Tel Aviv U.S. defense secretary Chuck Hagel and Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon announced the finalizing of a major U.S.-Israeli arms deal. At a reported cost of $10 billion, Israel gets Bell Boeing V-22 transport helicopters (known as Ospreys), Boeing KC-135 in-flight refueling planes, advanced radar systems for fighter planes, and anti-radiation missiles.

It’s part of a larger deal, first reported in the New York Times last week, that also involves Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A U.S. official calls it “one of the most complex and carefully orchestrated arms sale packages in American history.”

And its focus is Iran. As far as Israel is concerned, all the hardware it’s getting enhances its ability to carry out long-range operations.

Hagel, for his part, was explicit about it. On the way to Israel, he told reporters that “Israel will make the decisions that Israel must make to protect itself, to defend itself.” He also called the sale a “very clear signal to Iran.”

Aharon Lapidot, a veteran Israeli military analyst and now deputy editor of popular conservative daily Israel Hayom, notes that “Israel will be the first country in the world to get the Osprey outside of the U.S.” and that it will “give the Israeli Air Force an advanced, modern aircraft….”

Lapidot also describes the Boeing KC-135 refueler as “of the utmost tactical importance” and as allowing Israel’s fighter jets “to partake in operations far from the country’s borders…. There is no doubt this is a force multiplier for the IAF.”

Or as Hagel himself put it, the sale will “ensure Israel’s air superiority in the future and allow the Israeli Air Force long-range capabilities.”

Yes, that’s the same Chuck Hagel whose nomination by President Obama was, not long ago, the subject of strong criticism—all of it well justified by his track record of anti-Israeli, anti-“Jewish lobby,” soft-on-terror, soft-on-Iran statements.

Apart from the fact that Chuck Hagel is now a responsibility-wielding U.S. official, what has changed?

For one thing, Israel’s image is changing from Oppressor of the Palestinians to Rising Regional Military and Economic Power—a status further augmented as Israel’s vast, recently-discovered offshore natural-gas deposits start to come online. It was also reported Monday that Jordan, fearful of the chaos in Syria, is allowing Israeli planes to use its airspace. And that even some measure of Israeli-Turkish rapprochement may be in the works.

According to the law of the jungle, the bigger and more powerful you get, the more “friends”—or tacit allies—you have. Especially when these tacit allies are scared out of their wits by Iran’s march toward nukes and various possible horrific scenarios in Syria.

As for the Obama administration, even though not long ago it was convinced that Israeli building in Judea and Jerusalem was the real fulcrum of the region’s woes, these developments aren’t lost on it. As the Syrian crisis intensifies and the Iranian danger mounts, it is simply impossible not to appreciate Israel’s stability, intelligence capabilities, and military potentials. Especially when Washington’s Arab allies keep making clear that for them, the Palestinian issue takes a distant backseat to their dread of the regional threats.

Does this mean Israel would be overjoyed to be the one to strike Iran? Not at all. The United States still has much greater capabilities to do it and, as a superpower, has the responsibility to do it. But with the U.S. overtly building up Israel’s capabilities and repeatedly affirming Israel’s right to look out for its own security, it will be very hard for the Obama administration to condemn or penalize Israel if Israel—impatient with the U.S. timeline on Iran’s nukes—decides to take matters in its hands.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The real question becomes: when will these advanced capabilities become available? In other words, will these acquisitions be delivered in time to deal with Iran's menace, or will they be available after the fact to "contain" Iran? This is no small matter, even though Hagel deigns to assert Israel's "right" for self defense!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • EarlyBird

      In other words, when Israel demands the US jump, Uncle Sam must answer "how high sir?!"

      Adina, you ungrateful witch. On behalf of every American, from a nation that has stood forthrightly with Israel in nearly every respect since its founding, as the one, true and most vital ally in the world of Israel's, and which since '79 has given your nation on average $3+ billion dollars in aid:

      You're welcome.

      • johnnywoods

        Those billions were well spent Jackass.

        • EarlyBird

          For Israel, you're right.

      • Leon

        On behalf of every Israeli, from the nation that has trained the doctors who treated the Boston bombings victims, developed the anti-virus software that protects your companies' intellectual property, and is responsible for a sizable portion of that intellectual property, kindly go shove it.

        • EarlyBird

          Hurray. Does that mean we can officially end our "special relationship"?

          • defcon 4

            Is that how you refer to Bacha Bazi?

      • defcon 4

        Isn't it strange how non-orthogonal Erlyturd's outrage is? I don't remember a peep coming out of Erlyturd when the US sent better and more advanced weaponry to the islamofascist state that is Egypt, nor to the fact the US continually subsidizes islamofascist states like Gaza and Egypt.

    • kikorikid

      Hmmmm?
      I distinctly remember, about a year ago, that the U.S.was
      in the process of delivering "Bunker Busters" to Isreal.
      These in addition to the KC-135's gives Isreal a full
      set of toys…….GAME ON

      • defcon 4

        I'm not sure if the bunker busters were ever actually delivered to Israel.

  • Chezwick

    Adina hits the nail on the head. Had this arms-deal been sealed a year ago, it might have actually made a difference.

    • EarlyBird

      No, she proves that the only thing she considers the US is an arms factory for Israel, and that she looks gift horses in the mouth. What a wretched representation of Israelis she is!

      • Lan Astaslem

        and what a perfect rep of islamoa$& lickers you are

  • Underzog

    Adinak has it the best. This deal is a fraud. It doesn't include bunker busting bombs needed to handle the centrifuge plants. Obama is helping midwife Iran's nuclear designs, perhaps in the hope that Iran will .destroy Israel's six million Jews while he leads from behind. Time will tell if such smug arrogance and deceit is correct.

    "Pres. Obama will fight Islamic terrorism or his middle name isn't Hussein."

    Don Feder

    • EarlyBird

      No matter WHAT Obama does or doesn't do, you'll never give him credit. That's right wing fascist zealotry for you!

      • johnnywoods

        What credit does that punk deserve pray tell?

        • EarlyBird

          Oh, I forgot: he's a black Muslim Marxist Al Queda Operative Nazi Liberal enemy of America. I forgot, I'm posting in a right wing insane asylum. Sorry.

      • defcon 4

        What do you call islam? A tolerant, peaceful faith of harmony?

    • Leon

      The deal is most certainly not a fraud. The Osprey can stay airborne longer than other jets and it can land on ships – in other words, it's perfect for defending Israel's offshore natural gas pump.

      • defcon 4

        It's also incapable of mounting any defensive weaponry.

  • bubbaland

    This article is a nice exercise in whistling past the graveyard. Netanyahu has been threatening Iran for years and both Republican and Democratic presidents have allowed Iran to make progress towards completing a nuclear bomb. While the tankers could be put to use relatively quickly the IDF, it remains to be seen how fast the Ospreys will be integrated into the IDF. This week former Military Intelligence head, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said that "Iran has already crossed Israel's new 'red line'" regarding nuclear weapons. To date Netanyahu has been acting like the big bad wolf, lots of hot with nothing to show for it.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Indeed. Anyone who believes that Hagel OR Obama is a friend of Israel is a foole.

  • Looking4Sanity

    The Osprey is a POS with an abominable operational track record. We aren't doing the Israelis any favors by selling them these things. Meanwhile, we're supplying an increasingly radicalized and hostile Egypt with front line fighter jets. This is not a policy for stability. It is a recipe for disaster.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Maybe israel will find a way to trade them to Egypt for better equipment?

  • P. David Hornik

    According to the most knowledgeable experts, Israel already has the capabilities to hit Iran effectively and is not dependent on this sale to do so, or on whether the merchandise arrives soon or not. The sale itself, and the accompanying verbiage, give Israel more latitude to act because it will make it a lot harder for the administration to come down on Israel if it does, especially with Congress likely to be very supportive of Israel. The sale also has undoubted military value for Israel though, indeed, not decisive value in terms of Iran. On the whole it's a positive development. The best development would be if the U.S. takes care of Iran. I don't think Jerusalem is counting on that..

    • EarlyBird

      Good analysis.

      • defcon 4

        From the islamofascist side of the table right Mehmet?

  • Bert

    The U.S. is guilty since the time of Jimmy Carter for enabling Iran to become radicalized and to move towards nuclear weapons. Another negative for this arms deal is that it could be used and an excuse for the U.S. to do nothing while claiming that Israel now has the means to act alone.
    Over fifteen years ago Israel and the U.S. had the potential to destroy the Arab Oil Weapon without firing a shot and thus neutralize Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. Advanced energy technologies have existed that are far ahead of wing, solar, bio fuels, etc. They could kill the oil market by offering something far better, cleaner and cheaper. The U.S. government has quietly obstructed ALL such technologies to maintain our enslavement to oil.
    I and others have long approached elected officials, media, environmental organizations etc. Shockingly it has been impossible to get anyone to examine some documentation where doing so will cost nothing and risk nothing.
    This is a vast subject with many internet references. One such reference is http://www.byronwine.com.

    • EarlyBird

      By the IDF's own admission, they can strike Iran on its own, without the help of the US:
      http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Gantz-IDF-can-attack

      Also, the US radicalized Iran in '53, by destroying a popular and fairly elected Iranian leader, Mossadegh, and installing the Shah for nearly 30 years as our brutal puppet to do the business of American and British oil interests and increase American hegemony. Even the neocons bravely admitted that it was the American practice of propping up preferred dictators to keep a lid on these societies that blew up in our face 9/11 and generally radicalized Muslims.

      Undoubtedly the government, with payoffs from the oil industry, have helped to cripple alternative technologies to oil.

      • defcon 4

        LOL, it's always hilarious to hear your vacuous condemnation of the Shah and your deafening silence on the Islamic "Republic" that replaced it.

  • EarlyBird

    Generals in Israel generally agree that Israel can strike Iran's nuclear weapons site on their own:
    http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Gantz-IDF-can-attack

    But they know that for Israel to strike Iran will ignite a regional war "and trade a theoretical war for a real one" that would be about the two nations trading missile strikes:
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/

    And it's why they want the US to get into that war for them.

    • American Patriot

      EarlyBird, the Israelis took out the Iraqi Nuke site in 1981 and the Syrian in 2007. They did it on their own. They've also accomplished other astonishing military feats on their own including the 1976 Raid on Entebbe and the stunning attack and destruction of Syria Sam batteries in Lebanon (86 Syrian Migs were shot down during the op for no Israeli losses). My point is that Israel is quite capable of doing Iran on its own. They have regional alliances with various nations with whom they have a confluence of interests making the logistics of the operation possible. And they also have the technical expertise and fortitude. What they can use from the US is strong political backing to tone down the spineless Europeans led by France and the British Foreign Office.

      • EarlyBird

        We agree. The IDF is extremely capable. You apparently misread my first sentence: "Generals in Israel generally agree that Israel CAN strike Iran's nuclear weapons site on their own." (Added emphasis here.)

        But they don't want to do it because they'd end up trading shots with Iran in a long, long war, not just a quick "strike." So they want the US to do it for them.

        Also, there appear to be retired IDF generals (and by way of being retired can afford to be more forthright) who differ on whether or not the nuke sites can all be found, and if there would even be any meaningful disruption of that program by airstrikes alone:
        http://www.timesofisrael.com/only-the-nuclear-opt

        Hard to know if this is just bluster, since it says only ground forces or a nuclear strike on Iran would work, but who knows?

      • defcon 4

        How is the IAF supposed to get from ISRAEL to IRAN? Underground? How many hostile states will the IAF have to fly over to get to Iran? How will they be refueled? Modern day Iran is a much more capable foe than Iraq in the 80's.

  • EarlyBird

    The biggest threat to world security at this moment in time is fanatical religionists. That goes for extremist Zionists like you who believe it's God will to push people out of their homes and land.

    And stop insulting my president, you Greek putz.

    • defcon 4

      Yeah, how dare the Israelis desire to live peacefully and freely among the human garbage that constitute the rest of the islamofascist Mid-East and N. Africa. The ones who embrace an ideology of unprecedented Jew hatred. It's so extreme it's frightening.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    What will Iran do, so far nothing has deterred them from moving forward with nuclear
    abilities, they have been at war with us since Carter and nothing has changed in thier
    rhetoric and they have been knowingly sending killers after all of the American forces
    in the Middle East. We know there has been and Iranian Mullah behind every bad day
    of Americans. I do not think this expensive gesture from Obama will alter the Iranian plans.
    It will not stop them and seems a stop gap measure that stops nothing and is distracting.
    Israel must check all of the incoming equipment and note all that is stamped, made in China
    or Pakistan. The Israelis need to make the Iranian leadership disappear along with the
    Iranian nuclear sites, then try to deal with non Mullah leaders who may be sane………..William

  • Syd

    Great piece. Now here's the truth… http://daretothinkfree.com/cnn-goldman-sachs-the-

  • defcon 4

    Israel shouldn’t pay a single shekel for any of this military equipment until it’s delivered — not that I don’t trust the word of the current regime or anything…

  • defcon 4

    Aren't Ospreys widely considered to be overpriced garbage? They have no defensive armament, no armor plate, they're difficult to fly and they take forever to change from aircraft mode to hover mode. I don't even think they can carry as many troops as a chinook.