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Awesome: Obama Shifts MidEast Balance of Power Away From Israel

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.

  1. 10 year, 30 Billion dollar arms commitment to Israel.
  2. 10 year, 20 Billion arms sale package to Saudi Arabia
  3. 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 results?

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.

Ship of Fools: The Obama Administration’s Stunning Israel Incompetence

Anti Israel – Start to Finish.

Capping off a year of stunning Obama incompetence, Joe Biden has come to Israel to re-enforce the Obama administration’s friendship with our country. To err it seems is human, to be stunningly incompetent however is all Obama. Domestically, internationally, any way you slice or dice it so far this President is failing and doing so on an epic scale.

“Solid B+” he cockily intoned while self grading himself on TV. Oh what a sheltered life we lead over there at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue. On the foreign affairs front, nowhere has the failure been more evident than in the US / Israel relationship. The State of Israel is currently more popular with Americans than the President himself! We’re polling better than him according to Gallup figures, near record highs! How embarrassing for the Appeaser in Chief.

Smiles all around

Obama smiles, Joe Biden smiles, Netanyahu smiles. It’s all wonderful but it can’t cover up the latent animosity. Its an animus generated by the US President himself, and a cadre of advisers who let’s not mince words – Don’t like Israel and never have. They identify with the Palestinians. The White House calls it Muslim outreach, in the real world we like to call it yet another grandiose heaping pile of steaming failure.

Let’s Examine the Record

  • No one in Israel has forgotten how the President in Cairo delegitmized our entire being here in Israel. A massive affront, felt across every Israeli political stripe. Mr. Obama with his teleprompters single handedly managed to rally 80% of the Israeli public around our right wing Prime Minister, an event until now seen only in times of WAR! Shockwaves rippled across Israel, President clueless was oblivious.
     
  • Instead of bridging the gaps he himself had created, perhaps by reaching out to the Israeli public now clearly distrustful of him, the President instead pursued his course of folly.  He opted to lord the existential Iranian sword hanging over us to force Israel into a building freeze across the West Bank. So instead of pressuring Iran where the real action was at, he issued threats to Israel, ingenious really! Priority number one was his pet project, the Palestinians. Quid Pro Quo it was called. Well we quidded, quidded building in the West Bank that is. Where’s the Quo? Failed engagement, stalled sanctions, and a chorus of advisers & veiled threats against Israel should we choose to defend ourselves. Incidentally – The Palestinians rejected our unprecedented concessions, and refused to talk about anything, let alone peace.. While the Iranians suffered a coup d’etat.
     
  • When Israeli polling showed only 4% of Israelis felt the President was a friend and pro-Israel ally, (shocking numbers similarly simply unheard of in the annals of Israeli history.) The President still forged onward, sailing his ship of fools. He sent Hillary to lecture us on where we can or cannot build in our own Capital! His promises to Jewish American ears in order to get elected were left simply by the way side – Just words.
     
  • When it had become clear to everyone including both the right & left in American media that the pressure gambits on Israel regarding settlements were a dismal failure; When it dawned that engagement follies were ill conceived, planned & implemented in every way. When it dawned the real source of intransigence preventing peace talks were the Palestinians themselves, who simply point blank refused to engage. Did the President assign blame? Of course not. Instead he chose to save that card, preferring to play it against Israel at the nearest opportunity we now learn.
     
  • When American Jewish Democrats became disillusioned with their own Messiah, flanked by Israeli leftists begging the President to come to Israel & explain his folly. Months later whom did he send? Joe Biden. While we are honored to receive the US VP, it sent the message loud & clear. Muslims are priority #1 for President Obama. The Jews? Not so much. Worse, Biden was clearly sent here not to clean up Obama’s messes with Israel, but to warn us yet again against striking Iran. Endearing really.
     
  • When we excluded Jerusalem from our building freeze, openly – matter of factly. Did Obama get the message? Or was his giant ego utterly incapable of absorbing even basic realities?  The answer seems clear enough, Joe Biden has thrown a hissy fit here WHILE in Israel over our declared building plans in Jerusalem, last night he made Bibi wait 90 minutes with dinner on the table. Apparently we’ve endangered the mockery that is Obama’s greatest achievement. Non existent INDIRECT talks with the Palestinians. Frankly, Bush could achieve more in a night’s sleep than this President can in a year of failures, next time tell Biden the Kitchen is closed, send him out for a slice of Pizza instead.

Just like the UK, Honduras, France, The Czechs and a litany of other nations it boils down to one thing. None of us trust the President of the United States. Incidentally Chris Matthews – It’s not because he’s black. It’s because for all his academic prowess he seems to have a learning disability. Yes ladies & gentlemen, the President is an ideologue, an educated moron cum laude.

Harvard spits them out like Big Macs these days apparently.

Target Iran: A War of Choice or Necessity?

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy Has Everyone Spinning

There’s a mountain of activity, editorials, blog posts, opinion pieces & think tank rhetoric exploding outward this week regarding Iran. With Obama’s signature foreign policy of engagement crashing & burning, and no direction in sight the spinners are out in force at every level.

American envoys, like Admiral Mullen, Kerry, even VP Biden are & have been shuttling to Israel to hold off any Israeli strike. Sec. Clinton jetted off to Latin America, doing whatever it is she does to unsuccessfully rally for sanctions. On the media front, articles galore delegitimizing strikes as a possible solution..

None of it is on the level

If it were, there would be a credible strategy put forth to counter the military option. But as we’ve seen, the refined fuel blockade combined with IRGC sanctions are nowhere to be found, if anything deadlines which passed months ago are only pointing to sanctions many more months away. Those sanctions are neither a given nor are the odds very good either.

Clearly, the Obama administration is stalling for time, waiting for the Iranian nuclear bomb to become a reality because the President like so many before me have claimed, is rather weak. He was weak on tough engagement, weak on supporting regime change in Iran, and now he’s weak on stopping the Iranian nuclear drive. If he weren’t, the multiple US House & Senate resolutions for fuel sanctions now sitting in drawers nearly a year would have been long ago realities, instead they are blocked by the Administration at every turn..

There are basically three courses open to the Obama administration with respect to Iran. It can do the Full Leverett (drop all pretense of hostility toward Iran and engage them on all issues in the hopes of a grand bargain); it can pursue the course it’s on now, a slow roll of diplomacy towards possible sanctions and international condemnation of Iran that probably won’t alter their nuclear progress; or it can start a war with Iran, which may or may not fully stop their nuclear program but would open the door to a host of consequences, most of them negative.

In contrast to their neoconservative critics, the Obama administration, including senior figures in the military, apparently sees the “hard realities of the world” as mitigating against starting a third war in the Greater Middle East – even if it means conceding some nuclear weapons capability to Iran. Of course, the administration can’t publicly acknowledge this, and so they have pursued the diplomatic and sanctions track, to demonstrate that they are least trying to address the problem.

“Hard Realities of the World”

That above is ‘realism school of thought’ euphemism for weakling, its testament to the overblown Iranian rhetoric. In reality Iran is the weak link, a regime forced to beat its own peoples to remain in power who’s unending glorious pronouncements of strength do little to buttress the fact that the only outlet they have is terror. So far so good, they seem to have terrorized the Obama administration into submission. Unfortunately for him, the American public is a different story..

“Do not even think about bombing Iran,” wrote Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Reidel in yesterday’s Financial Times.  Pointing out that the US has two unpopular and unfinished wars in the region already, and that the damage from any military strikes on the Islamic Republic would be unlikely to do enough damage to its nuclear program to justify the military and political cost, and also that Iran would have many opportunities to retaliate against US interests in the region, they urge President Obama to take this option off the table completelyLiving with a nuclear Iran won’t be fun, but it’s better than the alternatives, so let’s start making plans for the inevitable.

I actually agree with O’Hanlon and Reid that military strikes against the Iranian nuclear program aren’t likely to get us anywhere good, but that doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about them. Sixty-one percent of Americans asked called Iran’s strength a ‘critical threat’ in a Gallup poll last month;  an additional 29 percent said the Iranian threat was ‘important.’  With 90 percent of the public feeling threatened by Iran — at a moment when nothing special was happening — it’s not clear to me that domestic politics will allow the Obama administration to steer clear of hostilities with Iran even if it wants to. [...]

The Israel Factor

It is worth noting that many of those advocating strategies of retreat are the same people who so boisterously argued for engagement, their track record leaves much to be desired. They argued for shelving the military option before engagement, that worked well as we’ve seen. Now they argue for shelving the military option after engagement.. One begins to suspect their true goal is not solving the Iranian nuclear riddle – But merely shelving the military option at all costs. Good luck with that.

All these pundits may want to stack the shelves & put things in drawers, but those same ‘Hard Realities of the World’ are also in operation in Israel. Here those realities tend to be even harsher than they appear in the local American think tank, filled with lazy chairs & academic tenures. Obama may be trying to stall, his advisers may even think he’s succeeding. Kerry quipped in Israel this week how the US & Israel are on the same page. But he was speaking in the language of fuel sanctions which Israelis understand.. So far, it’s a dialect Obama seems to be unable to comprehend.

A War of Choice or Necessity?

So are we all really on the same page? It doesn’t look like it, but sooner rather than later we are all going to find out. I suspect those flimsy locks on the military engagement drawers won’t stop Israel from doing whatever it deems necessary. Therein lies the rub, those opposed to using every tool in the arsenal cast this as a war of choice, just like Iraq they might argue.

Sadly they are gravely mistaken in my opinion. Here in Israel where the threat is seen a existential in every way – Stopping Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is a war of necessity, not choice. If Obama keeps stalling and we start shooting, the Iranians themselves will force the President to quickly realize just how wrong many of his advisers often are. With American support for Israel at record highs, and anathema for Iran in similar territory - He may not have that luxury of choice, if or when Iran attacks American interests.

Then the question inevitably becomes – Does America want to strike on its terms, or Iran’s?

David vs Goliath: The Hashmonean on BlogTalkRadio talking Bibi vs Obama (Audio)

Crossing Audio oceans Live from Tel Aviv

Kit Lange graciously invited me back to her show ‘The Front Line‘ to talk serious turkey regarding the new administrations in Washington & Jerusalem, and the much discussed ‘Clash of the Titans’ possibly developing between two key allies, the US & Israel under Obama / Netanyahu.

This was an awesome show (per the usual fare for Kit) and we hit on all the lightning rod topics: Iran, military confrontations, the Obama Quid Pro Quo regarding the Palestinians, the Peace Process, and more..

Be sure to tune into the archive from last week at the Front Line and get the audio skinny!

Already just yesterday, topics discussed have borne fruit and are being reported in the news (JPOST) involving IAF Arrow 2 Anti-Ballistic Missile batteries and reports on Juniper Cobra, joint US / IDF exercises Kit & I discussed on her show.. See what you might have missed, and catch Kit weekly on blogtalkradio!

Mad Socialists: Brit leader advocates US blowing Israeli planes out of the sky to defend Iran

Reminding me why I am a conservative..

David Owen, former foreign Secretary of Britain in the late 70′s and then leader of the socialist democrats in the UK goes full on Jimmy Carter in this absurd piece of opinion in order to buttress his frankly detached from reality views, maybe he is channeling Barack Obama? I hear that is popular these days.

Not only does he advocate near total surrender to Iran’s every whim, but in a cruel twist of Irony he is not opposed to force as most leftists usually are. He supports the use of force indeed, just not against Iran.. Instead he advocates the President of the United States announce publicly that the US will defend air corridors to Iran and engage militarily with its chief ally Israel! Yes, you read that correctly – Shoot down Israeli fighter jets on any mission to Iran.

[...] Bush’s legacy would be best served by taking dramatic diplomatic action to prevent a war with Iran. He should publicly warn Israel that the United States will use its air power to prevent it bombing Iran, while announcing that he is sending Rice to Tehran to start negotiating a grand bargain whereby all sanctions would be lifted if Iran forgoes the nuclear weapons option. [...]

Parallel Universe

I guess the left really does live in a mirror universe where up is down & black is white. In Owen’s world Iran & the US are the allies, and Israel is the pariah nation. America should not threaten force on Iran, but it is justified in doing so against its ally Israel. In Owen’s world Iran is eager to deal with everyone, its is the lack of leadership by President Bush which is preventing peace on earth & love toward all.

Thankfully Iran has announced its own pre-conditions to the USA before any negotiations can take place and they coincidentally fall right in line with Owen’s worldview. Iran is calling for the total withdrawal of all US military forces from the entire Middle East, and the end of US support for Israel as its pre-conditions..

Hmm, Owen you are a genius! Maybe on the way out of the Middle East in compliance with Iran’s demands for a ‘grand-bargain’, America could take it a step further and simply attack / destroy all of Israel while the Supercarriers are sailing by, thus filling the entire Iranian condition slate in one go. I’m sure the USS Reagan, the Nimitz, The USS H.W Bush, the Eisenhower, etc and all the great leaders these marvelous powerhouse ships are named after would highly approve..

Amazingly enough, I couldn’t find any ships named after another ‘great’ leader – Neville Chamberlain, I wonder why that is?

SuperBase: Nevatim hosts all sorts of goodies beyond the X-band

Radar joins IAF mother of all bases

The X-band has arrived, along with a large contingent of US personnel in what will be a fully enclosed mini US base complete with PAC-3 air defense. The additon of the X-Band gives a few more minutes lead time for the Hetz / Arrow 2 in Shahab & scud interceptions pushing them out beyond Israel itself and into neighboring atmospheres, extending Israel’s own Green Pine radar system which is welcome.

The x-band radar itself while certainly useful is eclipsed by the second detail, the global network it is hooked up to known as JTAGS which is the US global satellite / radar system for Ballistic Missile launch detection, and ground / strike targeting of related assets. The X-band and ground control station is deployed at the IAF’s new superbase in Nevatim. The IDF facility is about a month old and will house the bulk of the IAF going forward, including strike fighters & transports. It’s quite a consolidation into the heart of the Negev desert featuring some of Israel’s latest & longest air strips, as evidenced by the monstrous C5 Galaxies that brought the US gear and support personnel this week.

Strike prevention? Not so quick there Tanto..

The popular interpretation of the Xband arrival is that it prevents Israel from striking without US permission, that there was some form of quid pro quo given on its delivery. Of course this is nonsense on numerous levels. Firstly Israel would never agree to place its defense solely in the hands of another country USA or not, the notion is absurd. The xband is a bolster to Israel’s missile defense, it is not the end all by far in Israeli defense. It is truly ludicrous to suggest Israel needs permission to carry out its own self defense. The man most responsible for getting the system into Israel and ramping US House support, Congressman Mark Kirk agrees. When asked about this allegation floated in the media primarily by those opposed to strikes this was his response..

[...] “There is no quid pro quo,” he said.

“You mean that the US did not say that in exchange for deploying the X-Band system Israel needs to receive US permission to attack Iran?”

“No, the US made no such demand,” Kirk said.

“The basic idea is that a US ally getting nuked is a bad thing. The X-Band system increases the likelihood that such an attack would fail,” he continued.

Moreover, far from sending a message that the US would work to block an Israeli preemptive attack against Iran, Kirk argued that the deployment of the X-Band system manned by a US crew “will send a message to Iran, that Israel has powerful political support from its ally against any Iranian threat.”

Kirk also argued that the US will support a decision by Israel’s government to attack Iran. As he put it, “If the Israeli government makes the difficult decision [that it must launch a preemptive attack against Iran], that is when Israel will need its allies the most. And that is when the US will be called in to show what it means to have us as an ally.” [...]

History is not on the side of absurdity either

Israel has through historical precedent acted with a US red light, and no light previously. The six day war was totally opposed by the US as a pre-emptive strike, as reported famously from the era. The Osirak Iraqi reactor strike was a surprise to the Reagan administration which opposed the effort (miss ya Gipper), and even the recent Syrian reactor strike was carried out without full blessing according to reports. Not too mention the Lebanon war II which had US support but which rolled far too quickly to suggest any massive US Israeli coordination and quickly devolved to full scale war. If anything Israel seems to chart its own course more often than not. I would chalk this up as yet another wishful dream for those opposing Iranian strikes as a last resort to a nuclear Iran.

Everything a strike package needs in one convenient spot

As mentioned, Nevatim is the new IAF / IDF superbase, the new command center for Israel’s air force. Now it also houses a US mini base on site as well the 1st of its kind – a  Joint Tactical Ground Station. The system ties all US sat, radar and sensor information together in order to paint a real time view of the full war theatre. Useful for spotting & tracking incoming missiles, but also the system used to direct offensive forces on precision strikes, guiding fighters to targets in real time (right to the cockpit as necessary) to take out defenses & missile launchers.

That could be handy indeed it seems not just to report and intercept incoming missiles, but to pre-empt them as well before they launch via strikes. If anything the xband arrival spells coordination, between Israel and US assets in the Gulf, Med, & Red Sea, tying in the US Aegis ABM & THAAD systems across the theatre. This was done to bolster Israel’s strengths and defenses, not tie its hands.

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