Arms embargo against the only reliable U.S. ally in the Middle East

By John Keller


Posted by John Keller

The administration of Barack Obama is orchestrating an arms embargo of sophisticated military weapons against the only reliable U.S. ally in the Middle East -- Israel.

How much sense does this make at a time when nearby Iran is nearing development of deliverable nuclear weapons and is belligerent as ever? If the U.S. and Israel do not stand united against a nuclear-armed Iran, the entire geopolitical situation in South Asia could slip out of control.

In my darker moments I think this must be what the Obama Administration wants.

So what's the problem between the U.S. and Israel? The Israelis and Palestinian Arabs don't like each other much, and the Obama Administration wants the two sides to get along. Israel wants to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem -- an area that has been part of Israel for 43 years -- and the Obama Administration wants the project stopped because it offends Palestinians.

The Obama Administration can't resist intervening in an internal Israeli matter so much that the president is willing to aid and abet a nuclear-armed adversary nearby to develop into a monster international threat. This doesn't sound to me like Obama has his international priorities straight, but I digress.

So what's this arms embargo? Since taking office, Obama has blocked all major Israeli requests for advanced U.S. weapons, including proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E fighter-bomber.

According to a story that ran Thursday in the World Tribune , "All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010," a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. "This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly."

The latest development in Obama's arms embargo against Israel happened Thursday. World Tribune reported the Administration ordered the U.S. military to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.

The Obama Administration can posture with an arms embargo all it wants, but Israel has an interesting history of dealing with arms embargoes. After the 1967 War, the French government launched an arms embargo, which denied the French-build Mirage 5 jet fighter to Israel.

By controversial means, Israel acquired detailed plans for the Mirage 5 and build their own jet fighter based on its design. The result was the Kfir jet fighter, which is Hebrew for lion cub.

My point is that if the Israelis want bunker-busting munitions, they are perfectly capable of developing these big smart bombs on their own. Israel does amazing things when the country feels threatened; they have shown this throughout their short history.

Put a nuclear-capable country within the range of short-range ballistic missiles near their borders, and I think Israel pull another rabbit out of its hat -- and the Obama Administration will have nothing to say about it.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
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