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March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Arms Deal’

US, Turkey Announce $4 Billion Arms Deal

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

It’s been a great month for US arms manufacturers: Just two weeks after the United States and Qatar – “the world’s largest funder of terror”, according to former President Shimon Peres – signed an $11 billion arms deal, the IsraelDefense website said Thursday that Washington has inked another multi-billion dollar deal for American firms, this time to provide Turkey with an advanced air defense system.

The deal comes at a time when Turkey appears to have re-defined its identity as a Muslim-majority democracy, as well as its role in the Middle East and the Islamic world. Although the Turkish republic, founded by Kamel Attaturk in 1923, has existed as a democracy for 90 years (with three military coups to restore democracy when the country teetered, in 1960, 1971 and 1980), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has directed the country towards an Islamist path since coming to power in 2002.

The evidence of Erdoğan’s effort to Islamize the Attaturk Republic has been clear for years: After being banned from Turkish politics for five years in the late 1990s and early 2000s for promoting anti-Israel-democratic ideas, he has used his elections to redefine Turkish politics and international relations.

He has purged both the judiciary and the military, giving many Turks and international observers the clear feeling that he is looking to solidify a one-party, one-leader system. More journalists are in Turkish jails today than any other country on earth – not because it is formally illegal to criticise Erdoğan or the government in the local press, but rather because journalists and editors have learned to self-censor if they want to survive. Under Erdoğan’s leadership the country has moved steadily away from the democratic republic envisioned by Attaturk and steadily towards the dark Islamic republic envisioned by enlightened groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Internationally, too, Erdoğan has redefined Turkey’s interests. Under Erdoğan’s leadership, Turkey has completely abandoned a thriving relationship with Israel in favor of relationships with some of the darkest regimes on the planet: Iran, Hamas, Syria, Libya.  Even Turkey’s relationship with the United States has not been immune: In mid-July he said he “no longer speaks” to President Barack Obama, in protest of the latter’s supposed lack of support for Palestinians in Gaza.

The $4 billion missile defense deal is significant not only in light of Erdoğan’s Islamist leanings, but also because of Turkey’s wider geo-political stance. The deal, which has been delayed four times over the past year, mainly due to Erdoğan’s domestic political needs as he completes his term as prime minister and runs for president, is also relevant because American and European companies have been competing for the air defense contracts against competitors from Russia and China – the geo-political equivalent of a slap in the face to Washington and Brussels.

In that sense, then, the deal stands to re-cement Ankara’s standing in the West, and also to reassure President Obama and European leaders that Turkey has not ‘changed sides’ – at least, not completely.

Finally, the deal is critical as the United States heads to mid-term elections amidst signs of economic slowdown. Last month, Raytheon-Lockheed announced layoffs in Rhode Island and Massachussetts. Furthermore, many large weapons-producing states, such as Alabama, are not naturally Democratic support bases. Taken together, inking the Turkey deal was a clear economic interest for the United States, and a political interest for President Obama and the Democratic Party.

All of which suggests, however, that the choice of short-term financial gain over longer-term political interests is unstable at best. For Prime Minister Erdoğan, Turkey’s path is clear. Nothing illustrates this better than Erdoğan’s outrageous comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany and Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked to Hitler. Especially in light of the current deal, the silence from the administration on growing state anti-Semitism in Turkey is deafening.

But President Obama’s silence on Turkish anti-Semitism cannot change the fact that the administration recognises both the possibility that Turkey could bolt the NATO stable, and also that that move would be a political earthquake. In that light, the current move is a desperate attempt to curry favor with an shaky ally on the way out, at the expense of a solid one that is firmly in the American orbit.

Russia Gives Egypt Massive Bear Hug at US Expense

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Russia and Egypt are set to sign a major arms deal that is of similar value to the amount of aid the US had been sending to Egypt until it froze much of it last month, according to a report in Makor Rishon. The deal is valued at 1.2 billion Euro (1.6 billion dollars).

According to the report, unlike US aid, the Russian deal explicitly has no strings attached, and Russia says it will not get involved in local Egyptian politics.

Furthermore, at the meeting held two days ago, Russia said they would also direct Russian tourists to the visit the Egyptian pyramids, a move that would strongly bolster the local tourism economy that thrives mostly on those visits. Tourism is one of Egypt’s most important industries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told General el-Sisi that Russia will support the Egyptian roadmap, respect the current [Egyptian] government, and have no intention of getting involved in the internal issues of another country.

He added that Russia is prepared to support Egypt in all areas to help restore the country. He described Egypt is a central partner in the Middle East with whom they have deep ties, and plan to deepen them further.

These statements are the exact opposite of those emanating from John Kerry and the US government, who have been placing conditions on continued US support for the current Egyptian government.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister was careful to point out that the new closeness between Egypt and Russia should not be viewed as coming at the expense of its relationship with the US.

Sure.

The US has tied aid to Egypt on progress towards democratic elections and a civilian government, while ignoring that democratic elections are what brought the radical Islamic Morsi government into power, that the Egyptian army was forced to overthrow.

Saudi Arabia has also pledged to match US aid to Egypt, as have some other Middle Eastern countries, making it unlikely that the US plan to reintroduce a radical Islamist democracy into Egypt unlikely.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-gives-egypt-massive-bear-hug-at-us-expense/2013/11/15/

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