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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘chuck hagel’

US Suspends Delivery of F-16s to Egypt Due to Political Turmoil

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The United States was prepared to deliver four F-16 Fighter jets to Egypt as recently as last week, but on Wednesday, July 24, the U.S. administration announced that there would be no delivery at this time.

The move is one that surprised few, as the U.S. administration had been far more favorably disposed to the recently ousted President Mahmoud Morsi than it has been to either President Hosnai Mubarak who was removed in the Tahrir Square Revolution in 2011, or to the current government leaders whose tactics have been viewed as heavy-handed.

“Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters on Wednesday.  Little explained that the decision to delay delivery of the warplanes came from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The delay was relayed to Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a telephone call by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier in the day.

Under a $2.5 billion deal signed in 2010, the United States is committed to providing 20 F-16 fighters to Egypt. Eight jets were delivered earlier this year and four more F-16s were due to be shipped over in coming weeks.

The Pentagon’s announcement that the F-16s would not be delivered at this time followed a decision made on July 19 by the British government to suspend arms exports to the Egyptian military.

Despite the decision to delay delivery, the United States plans to go ahead with a planned joint military exercise with Egypt known as “Bright Star.”

Egypt receives $1.3 billion in U.S. aid each year.

Meanwhile, the current Egyptian leadership continues on the path it began by ousting Morsi.  The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday on charges of “inciting violence.” And army chief al-Sisi called for nationwide protests, the purpose of which is to oppose “violence and terrorism.”

Yet Another Enemy of Israel Poised to Join US Foreign Policy Team

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

For people who pay close attention to what is happening in the world of U.S. government diplomacy and the players not just on the field, but those on deck, Robert Malley is a name that rings a bell.  For those who care deeply about the security of Israel, the bell that is rung has an ominous, if familiar, tone.

Rumors have been circulating for about a week that Robert Malley will soon be named by Secretary of State John Kerry for a senior advisory role with a portfolio that focuses either on Syria or on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

According to various sources Malley is “under serious consideration” or the decision to appoint him is already “a done deal,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

So what’s wrong with Malley?  He couldn’t possibly be as bad as Samantha Power, or John Kerry or Chuck Hagel, could he?

Well, that depends who you ask.

Robert Malley is so offensive, he was actually kicked off (despite the lipstick smear called “resignation”) the Obama election committee in 2008 for meeting with the terrorist organization Hamas, although he had been one of Obama’s closest advisors for Middle East issues until his affinity for Hamas became public.

Malley is a Harvard-trained lawyer who currently works at the George Soros-affiliated International Crisis Group.  There are those Israel supporters who see Malley as an international crisis all on his own – his father, Simon Malley, was a virulently anti-Israel member of the Egyptian Communist Party and a close confidante of Yassir Arafat.  (Malley’s mother, who raised him, is named Barbara Silverstein – we’re not going there.)

Robert Malley blamed Israel for the failure of the Camp David Peace Talks in an op-ed in the New York Times.  As Ed Lasky pointed out in an on-point article  in 2008, Malley’s recollections of what went wrong at Camp David was in direct contrast to every other major player present, including President Bill Clinton and Clinton’s Middle East Envoy, Dennis Ross.

In another op-ed from the same era, Malley revealed his strong support for the Syrian regime, and scoffed at the idea that Assad should be treated as a pariah.

This past fall Malley explained why he believes it is not only likely, but essential for Hamas and Fatah to unite.

 I think at this point it’s inconceivable that Fatah will eliminate Hamas, and I can’t see that Hamas is going to eliminate Fatah, so the only solution if what you want — if what people want — is to see a meaningful negotiation between an empowered Israeli government, a representative Israeli government, and an empowered and representative Palestinian national movement, the only way to do that is for Palestinian ranks to unify.

And as Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon pointed out, Malley even criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for taking off the table the concept of containing a nuclear Iran – in other words, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and then asking the Islamic regime to pretty please not use them was a reasonable position Malley resented Obama’s failure to consider.

So, will Malley be the worst person in the U.S. administration with a foreign policy portfolio that could have a significant impact on Israel?  Maybe not the worst, but as an addition to a group which already have raised serious concerns, if Malley is selected by Kerry it is certain to make things even worse.

 

 

Israeli Firm to Build Wings for F-35 Stealth Jet

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won a 10-15 year contract potentially worth $2.5 billion to build the wings for the F-35 stealth bomber, which is due to arrive in Israel in 2016.

IAI and Lockheed Martin have begun setting up the production line for the F-35′s wings at an Israeli facility, the Israeli business website Globes reported.

“The F-35 is an important milestone for IAI, and guarantees the company’s involvement in advanced combat aircraft. I welcome the strengthening of the ties with Lockheed Martin,” said IAI CEO Joseph Weiss.

The announcement’s timing with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Israel underscores the military-industrial complex behind American military aid to Israel and other countries.

Hagel finalized a new defense deal between the United States and Israel that he said will give Israel technological superiority.

Israel is forking out a huge amount of money to buy the F-35 jets, and the United States will assist Israel with Boeing air-to-air refueling jets, which Globes said, “it has only been able to dream about until now.”

The refueling ability increases Israel’s capability to strike long-distance targets, not the least of which is Iran.

The IAF will also receive the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, a unique aerial platform that until now has only been in operation with the US Air Force. The Israeli-based Elbit Systems Company manufactures hi-tech helmets for the pilots of the V-22, which can land and take off vertically like a helicopter.

Hagel Thumps ‘I Love Israel’ Litany, Visits Yad VaShem

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel toed the official Obama administration line Sunday in his first visit to Israel in his new post, repeating the mantra” Israel has the right to defend itself.”

If anyone wants to interpret that as just a banal and superfluous statement, he made it clear that he is not ignorant of the danger to Israel of an Iranian nuclear weapon. He told reporters en route to Israel that a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Israel sends “another very clear signal to Iran,” although he did not note that Iran so far has not understood “signals.”

As is de rigueur for a maiden official visit to Issue, Hagel dutifully visited the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Center, where he not so profoundly declared of the Holocaust, “It is reality. It happened.”

The Washington Post on Sunday called his visit a “charm offensive” to dispel the unusually vocal and often acid criticism of him before the Senate agreed to accept his nomination as Secretary of Defense.

For a man who once said the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” Hagel so far has done a good job of showing how much he really loves the Tribe. If he doesn’t love Jews, at least he needs us.

Then again, the United States also needs the Arabs.

Whether that need is for security or for the military-industrial complex in the United States is another question. Whatever the answer, the fact is his trip is aimed at sealing multi-billion dollar agreement for buying weapons not only with Israel but also with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Click here to understand if Israel really needs or can afford the weapons.

Behind the words of love and money for a possible war, Hagel does not hide a basic disagreement between the United States and Israel – the timing of a military strike on Iran, if necessary.

He insist negotiations, which so far have been a bad act, sanctions can alter Iran’s nuclear plans. Sanctions have definitely had an impact on Iran’s economy but not on its race for a nuclear weapon, which, according to the Ahmadinejad regime, exists only in the wild imagination of the Zionist enemy.

By the time Hagel returns to Washington, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are expected to have signed up for to buy enough F-16 fighter jets and advanced missiles that can be launched from the air to scare the dickens out of any normal country that threaten others.

The Obama administration is still trying to hope that Iran will be a normal country.

Hagel Coming to Israel Bearing Lots of (Sort of) Gifts

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is starting a weeklong visit to the Middle East, concluding a year of secret negotiations over a $10 billion arms deal involving Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The deal includes American made missiles, warplanes and troop transports, to help each country in facing threats from Iran.

The NY Times quoted a senior administration official who said the goal of the new deal is “not just to boost Israel’s capabilities, but also to boost the capabilities of our Persian Gulf partners so they, too, would be able to address the Iranian threat — and also provide a greater network of coordinated assets around the region to handle a range of contingencies.”

When Chuck Hagel leaves the region, he will also, supposedly, answer the puzzling riddle of how can Israel afford to spend even more billions of dollars, when her entire $3 billion in U.S. military aid is already spoken for. In everybody’s mind, there can be only one answer: Israel will ask the U.S. to pay the U.S. whatever it takes, so Israel can get the new, really shiny stuff.

Highest on Israel’s shopping list for things it couldn’t possibly pay for out of its own shrinking budget: new missiles designed to take out the enemy’s air-defense radar, and then, also, advanced radar for Israeli warplanes, and don’t forget new refueling tanker planes. In short, it’s all the stuff you need if you’re going out to bomb the nuclear facilities of an unnamed country a thousand miles away.

In addition Israel will also buy the V-22 Osprey troop transport aircraft, which combines the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

If you ask me, Israel needs these units like it needs a hole in the head. Besides the fact that they’ve had a terrible reputation, rife with corruption (a Marine Lieutenant Colonel was kicked off the service after it was discovered he fixed reports to favor the new aircraft), Israel is not facing the troop transport issues the U.S. military does around the globe. It’s a whole lot cheaper to fly the troops across the border in any direction on good, old fashioned choppers, than to utilize and maintain these unwieldy behemoths. But since the entire U.S. military aid to Israel program is, essentially, intended to support jobs creation on Long Island and in Washington State, what do I care.

They accused former President GW Bush of being an irresponsible spendthrift when he invested trillions of dollars of money we didn’t have in invading and destroying the only enemy of Iranian expansionism in the region – Saddam Hussein. But, as it turns out, the president was smarter than we thought. By making Iran the undeniable bully of the Middle east, utilizing Shiite power in Iraq to bolster its own, now U.S. military industrial companies are able to cash in on the new market and sell everybody in the region those state-of-the-art American mega weapons. USA! USA!

“This year the United States provided $3.1 billion in foreign military financing to Israel, the highest the United States has ever provided,” a Pentagon official said. In addition, the United States provides about $300 million in missile defense to Israel, he noted.

Elsewhere in the region, in 2010 Saudi Arabia agreed to purchase 84 F-15 tactical fighters in a deal worth $29.4 billion, the official said, and the first F-15s have rolled off the line in St. Louis and are undergoing flight testing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

During Hagel’s trip, the UAE is expected to move forward with the purchase of 25 F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon fighters manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. The expected value of the sale is $425 billion, the official said.

The United Arab Emirates wants to buy 26 F-16 warplanes, at $5 billion, and they also need those precision missiles that can be launched from those same jets at distant ground targets. Saudi Arabia is also in for them advanced missile.

The deal with Israel was in discussion over the past year between former defense secretary Leon E. Panetta and former defense minister Ehud Barak. The Times reports the two had 18 additional telephone discussions on the arms deal. After being sworn in as the new defense secretary, Hagel’s first face-to-face discussion with any foreign counterpart was with Barak, to get the deal done. When Hagel starts will move to finalize the arms deal with Barak’s successor, Moshe Yaalon.

Hagel to Visit Israel This Month

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Chuck Hagel will visit Israel for the first time as Secretary of Defense for three days, April 21-23, according to Reuters, which was informed of the schedule by an Israeli official.

Officially billed as trip to tighten cooperation with allies in the Middle East, Iran will be at the top of the agenda in his discussions with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

JStreet’s Hagel ‘Victory’ is on American Jewry

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

The Jerusalem Post reports today that JStreet, the only lobby dedicated to opposing and putting pressure on Israel, is claiming Hagel’s confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Defense a “victory.”

That’s funny, because JStreet is probably one of the Jewish organizations whose stance mattered least of all, and Hagel is a Secretary of Defense who’s approval was filibustered and who received the most nay votes in all of American history. If this is a show of JStreet power, then those of us who are actually pro-Israel have something to be thankful for.

And what was the battle that was won? JStreet lobbied for the President’s policy. Opposing the president in foreign policy is always an uphill battle. It doesn’t take an Israel lobby to get the president’s nomination through, especially when his party controls the Senate. (Though I admit, it’s useful to have Jews telling Americans to override their natural moral perspective on Israel-related issues).

But there is a victory in there somewhere – perhaps for clarity.

JStreet supported the president in his Israel policy, just as most of American Jewry has done since the days of FDR, when the American government did nothing to save millions of Jews, took part in an informal global conspiracy not to grant fleeing Jews refuge, and by acquiescing in British requests not to do anything which would force the British to let Jews into Palestine.

Jews like then ZOA president Stephen Wise did their best to defend Roosevelt against the “extremists.” Today those extremists include, ironically, the Zionist Organization of America, as well as the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel. Even more ironically, those whom the respectable Jews tried to silence were the Jabotinskyite Hillel Kook & Co., a group which included Irgun commander Yitzchak Ben Ami, the father of JStreet head Jeremy Ben Ami.

Take U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s support for Hagel. A word from Schumer, a senior Democratic senator, could have forced Obama to withdraw Hagel’s nomination. A word from AIPAC, which remained silent, could have forced Schumer to oppose the nomination or at least not publicly announce that all of his fears had been calmed in a short meeting with Hagel. AIPAC was silent because they need to work with the government – the classic Diaspora Jewish explanation for going along with anti-Zionist policies. Schumer put up no opposition – who knows why? Because he too wanted the President’s support for something? Because of party loyalty? Because he was duped with assurances that from now on Obama would leave Israel alone.

What should be clear now is that while JStreet may be a minor group, it is only doing what most American Jewish leaders already agree to, putting the president’s policy ahead of what common sense and Israel’s obvious interests dictate. American Jews support Democratic presidents. American Jews support Palestinian statehood. American Jews support all other sorts of Israeli concessions because they would rather have the moral high ground than the actual high ground. American Jews criticize Israel to show they are fair observers.

So congratulations, JStreet, you won before you even started! Perhaps you can save your breath, energy and George Soros’ and God knows who else’s money and go home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/hadar/jstreets-hagel-victory-is-on-american-jewry/2013/03/10/

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