Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

Israel hails US military aid rise

Posted by vmsalama on July 29, 2007

The news below is interesting.  I can’t say that I am at all surprised by this development given the close ties between Israel and the United States.  Israel is already the top recipient of military and economic aid from the United States (Egypt is second). What is particularly interesting is that the deal is purportedly in response to a rumored arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia.  This is similar to how the nuclear race is playing out in the Middle East and South Asia.  There are concerns that Iran has nukes.  Egypt is dabbling in nukes for civilian use.  Israel – while it has never been confirmed – is more than likely involved in the nuclear race.  With arms, everyone wants the best, the strongest, the most sophisticated, and the most – particularly in the Middle East where more often than not, these arms are more than just a precaution.  What is interesting is the way the United States government caters to Israel’s apprehension.  Even more interesting is the lengths to which the United States will go to maintain the Sunni stronghold in the region.  I’ve written about this subject extensively.

BBC: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has confirmed that the United States is planning a significant increase in military and defence aid to Israel.

The package would reportedly amount to more than $30bn (£14.8bn) over the next 10 years.

Mr Olmert described it as an important element for the security of Israel.

Washington is reportedly preparing a package of major arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states because of concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme.

US defence aid to Israel currently stands at $2.4bn a year – the new package would amount to a 25% increase.

Mr Olmert said the aid had been agreed at a meeting with US President George W Bush in Washington last month.

Saudi arms deal

The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Jerusalem says the package is seen as an attempt to allay Israeli concerns over the planned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, reportedly worth $20bn (£9.8bn) over the next decade.

Defence officials quoted by US media said the sales would include advanced weaponry, missile guidance systems, upgraded fighter jets and naval ships.

Mr Olmert said the increased support was a sign of US commitment to maintain Israel’s military “advantage over the Arab states”.

“We understand the need of the US to assist the moderate Arab states which are in one front with the US and us in the fight against Iran, and on the other hand we appreciate the renewed and re-emphasised support for Israel’s military and security advantage,” he said.

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