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Monday, January 11, 2010

Bush administration arms sales eroded Israel's qualitative edge, violated agreements?

Last week, Haaretz ran a story raising alarms about US arms sales to 'moderate' Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Really, this issue was raised with the Bush administration in April 2007, and in July 2007, several members of Congress tried to block the sale. But in the end, the Bush administration agreed to restrict the arms sales to the Saudis, but then-Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert asked Bush to remove the restrictions.

It took me about five minutes of searching my own archives with Google to figure that out. So why can't Haaretz figure it out?
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 dialogue [on preserving the IDF's qualitative edge]."
All true. But Ehud Olmert was the one who agreed to the sales. Should Bush have been more pro-Israel than Olmert? (Secret: He was).

Read it all - this is now one heck of a mess, and unfortunately it may cost us to get out of it. I believe Haaretz is running this story the way it is because it is trying to tell us that Obama loves us and thus improve his approval rating in Israel above 4%.


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