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Friday, August 10, 2007

US aid to Israel cut

The London Daily Telegraph is reporting this morning that US aid to Israel is to be cut by $500 million to support the transport of new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the US to Iraq to protect US troops there against Iranian-made IED's. The total cost of transporting the MRAP's is some $750 million.
Washington had promised Israel a substantial increase in its financial support to bolster it against Iran.

But US officials decided to amend their pledge because of escalating costs, including the need to spend $750 million (£375 million) to fly thousands of armoured troop carriers to Iraq to protect troops against Iranian-made roadside bombs.

The Pentagon has come under intense pressure to speed up deployment of the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP), which boasts a V-shaped hull and a raised chassis and is proven to withstand a range of explosive projectiles common in Iraq.

The army has ordered 8,000 MRAP vehicles at a cost of $12 billion. But a request by the Pentagon for an emergency transport budget illustrates the increasing danger faced by troops on the ground.

Officials said extra funds would be used to get 3,400 MRAPs to Iraq by the end of the year.

The diversion of funds has caused a budget shortfall in Israel that forced Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, to convene an emergency cabinet meeting yesterday.

Officials discussed ways of dealing with the £250 million deficit in next year's budget, which Israeli commentators said would result in austerity measures.

More worryingly for Israel, there are fears the shortfall will have a significant impact on the ability of the country to defend itself as military training and procurement are cut back.

The tension over the delayed American money has tarnished relations between the two countries, which were boosted only last week when Israel confirmed it would enjoy a surge in American defence aid of 25 per cent over the next 10 years.
I am sure you are all aware that I am in favor of the US war in Iraq and that I believe that it is in both the US's and Israel's interests in the long run. I am thrilled that the 'surge' in Iraq seems to be working. And I think that Israel has to do its fair share to help out (and that we ought to be cutting our budget in other areas and redeploying some of the funds cut to defense, which would offset some of the impact of this cut). And apparently this cut is 'only' coming out of the 'new money' Condi promised last week.

But how come we are bearing two thirds of the cost of this? I know that we receive considerably less than two thirds of the foreign aid the US hands out every year.... And the confiscatory taxes in this country (not the US's doing but that's a whole separate issue) take away all incentives to work....


At 8:29 PM, Blogger HEADJANITOR said...

I guess it never occurred to anyone who authorized slashing foreign aid to Israel, to get the money, instead, from U.S. foreign aid to, oh, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia (yes, Louise, America sends foreign aid to the Saudis), etc., ad nauseum.


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