Obama Triples US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia. Just like the Deficit!!
A funny thing happened along the way to ‘containing’ Iran. Israel lost its historic military edge in the Middle East, and Obama tripled the Bush arms commitment to Saudi Arabia. Haha, the joke it appears is on us. In the last year of the Bush administration the US announced 3 major arms packages.
- 10 year, 30 Billion dollar arms commitment to Israel.
- 10 year, 20 Billion arms sale package to Saudi Arabia
- Multi billion dollar arms sale package to US Gulf allies.
Last year, I wrote that per capita (dollars spent per person) Israel was the largest defense spender on the planet. However, in raw dollar numbers Saudi Arabia was doubling us. According to the Economist, in 2009 Israel spent approximately 16 billion dollars on arms, roughly 3 billion of it coming from US military aid. Compared to the Saudis who spent an alarming 38 Billion dollars on weapons.
Alarm bells went off
Early on in the Obama administration Israel voiced serious concerns to the US at the highest levels. Commitments to Israel regarding arms packages had been broken, and top of the line advanced US weapons were being sold to Saudi Arabia, including guided weapons, smart bombs, and advanced fighter aircraft as part of their 20 billion dollar package under Bush.
Senior sources in the current U.S. administration, and senior officials at the foreign and defense ministries in Israel, have suggested that during the last year of the Bush administration the U.S. sold advanced military equipment to moderate Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The Americans justified the arms sales with the need to bolster these countries against the perceived threat posed by Iran.
In an address before the National Jewish Democratic Council, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, commented on the matter. “We discovered that the qualitative edge of the IDF has been eroded,” Oren said. “We came to the Obama administration and said: ‘Listen, we have a problem.’”
According to Oren the response of the Obama administration was positive and immediate. “They said they are going to deal with this matter and ensure that the qualitative edge of the IDF is preserved,” he said. “Since then we have embarked on a dialog [on preserving the IDF's qualitative edge].” [...]
The Obama administration and democrats tried to make hay implying that Bush was not Israel’s friend, rather Obama is. They were going to fix this. This week it all came gushing out. Today Israel announced it was agreeing to pick up approximately 20 F35 JSF fighter from the US in a 3 billion dollar deal, in order to ostensibly ‘maintain our qualitative edge’.
At the same time, last week the Saudi’s were reported to have agreed to purchasing 84 new F15 fighters from the US in a 30 billion dollar arms deal. As the big fix to allay Israel, Obama had agreed to keep some of the long range weaponry destined to the Saudis out of their deal..
Wait for it.. Today the other shoe dropped.
The Saudi deal swelled, doubling to 60 BILLION DOLLARS over the next 10 years. Throwing in on top of the 84 F15s, an additional 130+ attack helicopters – Some 60 of them advanced Apache gunships, plus US Blackhawks. This will bring the Saudi air-force well above the 200 mark for advanced F15s, and dwarf Israel’s attack helicopter fleet by a factor of about 3.
Obama came through all right..
He in theory cut some of the munitions & systems going to the Saudis, and instead TRIPLED the 20 billion dollar Bush commitment turning it into a 60 billion dollar arms orgy.
One that will see Israel numbers wise outgunned, outspent, and in theory possibly outmatched in the next 15 years. Shifting the balance of power in the Middle East, a balance which was already tilting of late away from Israel toward Iran & terrorists.
Containing Iran is costing us dearly indeed, and they have not even developed the nuclear weapons yet.
The former dep. national security adviser to G.W Bush and Middle East expert does an extensive video interview on his views of the current state of Middle East Peace (or lack thereof), and the missteps of the Obama administration regarding the US Israel relationship. (H/T Jen Rubin)
Missed Opportunities under W & Obama
I am always on the lookout for Mr. Abrams articles and views, because he’s usually quite on the mark. Amongst other interesting points he touches on is one regarding his own personal differences of opinion with the Bush admin regarding the rushed Annapolis peace drive. My own views at the time chronicled here at the Hashmonean were that Condi Rice and the US State Department convinced the President to gamble all on Annapolis, to try and secure some foreign policy gains during the radical FP shifts of Bush’s 2nd term. That term came up short in all too many ways save for Iraq.
I still believe one of the last remaining opportunities to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons drive was lost at the tail end of that 2nd term, with Bush & Cheney still in office. Hopefully I’m wrong about that. At the time it was rumored that PM Olmert floated a request to strike, but President Bush was advised against getting on board while VP Cheney held a harder line. We all know what has developed subsequently under the new President Obama.. Iranian, Syrian and Palestinian appeasement have reached new untold heights at both Israeli & American expense.
Obama’s Open Hand to Nowhere Results in Predictable Syrian Slap to the Face
Bush’s Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams takes us there blow by blow, courtesy of the ever delish Weekly Standard..
The Obama administration has been trying out a new policy toward Syria since the day it came to office. The Bush cold shoulder was viewed as a primitive reaction, now to be replaced by sophisticated diplomacy. Outreach would substitute for isolation. Thus there have been six visits to Damascus by high-level administration officials, including two by George Mitchell. Moreover, the administration has signaled that its handling of export license applications for Syria will be more “flexible” than that of the Bush administration, which tried to deny every shipment it could.
Well, the returns are in. Within the past week, Iraq has withdrawn its ambassador from Damascus and accused Syria of involvement in terrorist incidents in Baghdad. Iraqi TV has also aired a confession by an accused al Qaeda terrorist, a Saudi who claimed he had been trained in Syria–by the Asad regime’s intelligence services. Nor is this all. Syria continues to support Hezbollah’s blocking of the formation of a government in Lebanon, backing Hezbollah in its demand for a “blocking third” that would prevent any decisions Hezbollah opposes in any new Cabinet. The Palestinian terrorist groups remain headquartered in Damascus, and under no visible restraints. And on August 19, President Bashar Asad paid a visit to President Ahmadinejad in Tehran, to showcase his support of the latter during the current Iranian political crisis. [...]
You can smell the generous dollop of sarcasm Abrams drops on us with his ‘sophisticated diplomacy’ shot above, as soon as I read that I knew I’d be blogging about this one. I love that! Critics will point out that Obama has in theory maintained the ‘US tough guy stance’ toward Syria by renewing American Congressional sanctions slapped on the regime by the Bush Administration, albeit minus the now granted gift of export licenses mentioned above for technical parts & other goodies. Further, the argument inevitably leads to critics saying the Bush strategy did not produce desired results, so ‘hope & change’ was needed.
To this criticism Abrams fires off an unexpected volley, the Bush strategy was too tame & weak. With evidence pouring in that Syria has been for years now allowing the open flow of men & matériel to Iraq with the goal of fighting Americans, Abrams counters that a more aggressive strategy would have been effective and that the tools – A massive US military presence along the border regions with Iraq were close at hand.
Hawks Speaking Out
Which brings up another related manner. VP Cheney’s recent comments to Fox News Sunday which carried a not so subtle undertone. The second half of the Bush administration’s two terms exhibited a much weaker foreign policy stance across the board. One which clearly created debate within the administration with Cheney and hawks lined up versus Condi Rice and the organs of State.
We can deduce without much trouble where Elliott might fall opinion wise. Cheney himself spoke about Iran, but this weakened stance exhibited itself in relation to Syria & North Korea, and finally in the Annapolis process as well which was clearly Condi’s baby. This weakness was most especially pronounced & came to the fore clearly when Condi lobbied to have America halt Israel from successfully striking the Syrian illicit nuclear program, which was frankly a stunning bit of appeasement that Bush thankfully resisted.
Realists vs NeoCons
It all comes full circle. Abrams speaks about the lack of moral clarity we’re now seeing under President Obama in relation to Syria, but just as glaringly we have also seen it in relation to Iran. Where Obama shamefully sacrificed American ideals to appease a brutal and vicious Iranian Revolutionary Guard military coup in order to prop up his already failing strategy on that front too.
The new Obama policy has produced no change in Syrian conduct, but it has produced a change in American behavior: Now we have even lost the moral clarity with which America used to speak about the nature and actions of the Asad regime.
But that is in essence the great American dilemma right now isn’t it?
With realists driving American foreign policy; Freedom, American values and sacrosanct American ideals which are the basis of neoconservative policies have taken a back seat to cold often faulty calculating ‘realism’. Screw Democracy, it’s now a moment by moment mish mash of washed up, moraless, academia induced nonsense. There’s no map or guiding principles. In short – An epic fail in both result and what has been sacrificed.. The American moral high ground.
I love this guy..
The Telegraph - Saddam Hussein’s gun may become centrepiece of George W Bush library. The gun found in Saddam Hussein’s foxhole when he was seized by Delta Force special troops in 2003 could become the centrepiece of an exhibition in George W Bush’s presidential library.
The 9mm Glock 18C, presented to then-president Bush by Delta Force agents after their triumphant arrest of the Iraqi dictator, has become one of Mr Bush’s most prized possessions. He would show it off in the Oval Office to visiting military dignitaries, with the boast “The Delta guys pulled it off Saddam”.
Now the New York Times has discovered that *he intends to make it a centrepiece of his presidential library that is being built, at a cost of $200m (£123m), on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
The Reagan library out in Simi valley in SoCal is such a great spot & visit. Now I’m clearly going to have to make it to Texas (my 1st time barring a short stopover a few years ago) in the next few years! I have GOT to visit the Bush Presidential library, my affinity for the man knows no bounds.
I can’t wait to see Saddam’s gun..
‘Smoke ‘em out of their holes’, Bush you’re such a champ! Please come back to visit Israel again soon.
President rallies the American nation at Ground Zero, Sep. 14th, 2001.