Preparing for Iran?: US on verge of $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 34 Comments

The New York Times reports:

The Defense Department is expected to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran.

A weeklong visit to the region by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will culminate a year of secret negotiations on a deal that Congressional officials said will be second only to the $29.5 billion sale of F-15 aircraft to Saudi Arabia announced in 2010. But the delicate balancing act that was necessary in weighing the differing interests of each nation made it among the most complex ever negotiated.

While one goal was to ensure that Israel continues to field the most capable armed forces in the region to deter Iran and counter a range of threats, it was equally important to improve the capabilities of two important Arab military partners. Another challenge, senior administration officials said, was coming up with a package that could help Israel deal with various security challenges — but devised so it would not be viewed as an American endorsement of accelerated planning by Israel to strike alone at Tehran’s suspected nuclear facilities.

The objective, one senior administration official said, was “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.”

Here’s what the deal includes:

Under the agreement, each country would be allowed to purchase advanced armaments from American contractors. In the case of Israel, there is also substantial American financial assistance, topping $3 billion in military aid this fiscal year.

Israel would buy new missiles designed to take out an adversary’s air-defense radars, as well as advanced radars for its own warplanes, new refueling tanker planes and — in the first sale to any foreign military — the V-22 Osprey troop transport aircraft.

The United Arab Emirates would buy 26 F-16 warplanes, a package that could reach $5 billion alone, along with precision missiles that could be launched from those jets at distant ground targets. Saudi Arabia would buy the same class of advanced missile.

Just another reminder that U.S. aid to Israel is often just a roundabout way to line the pockets of American military contractors. Here’s an interesting tidbit on one reason the aid is receiving support in Congress — it fills a gap for defense contractors being left by the sequestration of the Pentagon budget:

The expectation is that the arms sale, which was outlined to Congress on Thursday, will encounter little opposition from lawmakers, especially from members representing the many districts where defense contractors are concerned about the impact of cutbacks in the Pentagon’s own weapons budget. But Congressional officials said members were seeking assurances that the package was in keeping with American policy to guarantee Israel’s “qualitative military edge” while not recklessly emboldening Israeli hawks. 

So Israel and the defense contractors make out like bandits, seems like a win/win in D.C. Questions: does this deal alter the likelihood of an attack on Iran? Or is Iran just the latest excuse to feed the beast?

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

34 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    April 19, 2013, 5:38 pm

    Published yesterday:

    “A Dangerous Delusion: Why the Iranian Nuclear Threat is a Myth”
    By David Morrison and Peter Oborne
    “In 2013 it is possible that Israel, backed by the United States, will launch an attack on Iran. This would be a catastrophic event, risking war, bloodshed and global economic collapse.

    In this passionate, but rationally argued essay, the authors attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to the table and strike a deal. They argue that the military threats aimed by the West against Iran contravene international law, and argue that Iran is a civilised country and a legitimate power across the Middle East.

    For years Peter Oborne and David Morrison have, in their respective fields, examined the actions of our political classes and found them wanting. Now they have joined forces to make a poweful case against military action. In the wake of the Iraq war, will the politicians listen?”

    • HarryLaw
      April 20, 2013, 5:34 am

      Bumblebye, David Morrison a true friend of the Palestinians and a prolific writer on middle eastern affairs, is also on the board of Sadaka, Ireland. Peter Oborne surprisingly with his background at the Telegraph always talks sense on the middle east, he did that deserved hatchet job on Blair for that channel 4 Dispatches programme “The wonderful world of Tony Blair” here… Can’t wait to read the book.

    • Reds
      April 20, 2013, 9:44 am

      Or you can put out the coverage of North Korea and how Officials made multiple, upon mutiple claims as the NK being a rational actors even when the North Koreans threaten to Nuke the U.S.. After all that it’s kind of glaring that Iran is not a threat.

      • MK_Ultra
        April 21, 2013, 10:39 am

        Reds, perhaps, you can show what North Korea has actually done. When you’re finished with that list of harmful actions (not rhetoric), then, please endeavor to list all the actions the US has actually taken against North Korea. If it’s not obvious to you at that point, then, do the same with Iran. Don’t forget to list the shooting down of an Iranian commercial airliner with over 200 civilians aboard by the US military in your timeline. After all, it will be glaring who the threat really is.

  2. just
    April 19, 2013, 9:26 pm

    Oh, merde alors.

  3. seafoid
    April 19, 2013, 11:32 pm

    All fine for israel as long as the sauds run the show

    • Walid
      April 20, 2013, 8:47 am

      Isn’t it the other way around?

      • seafoid
        April 21, 2013, 1:47 am

        It’s mutual dependency. 2 obnoxious parties made for each other.

        But if the Sauds get the heave ho Israel will be in crisis.

  4. Blownaway
    April 20, 2013, 12:47 am

    The only parties who will actually write a check are the Arabs. you know who will get a gift basket. ronald Reagan bankrupt the last empire and israel will bankrupt this one.

    • Walid
      April 20, 2013, 9:19 am

      Arabs will write the cheques but most of the money would come from Americans at the gas pumps. What Israel does to this empire’s economy isn’t important; its economy is already technically bankrupt. Considering what’s flowing back from arms and other exports to various Arab states, Israel’s 3 billions added to the 16+ trillion debt is small change.

      • RoHa
        April 20, 2013, 10:23 pm

        “most of the money would come from Americans at the gas pumps.”

        Only Americans buy Arab oil?

  5. kalithea
    April 20, 2013, 12:47 am

    This war will be easy to push now that the terrain is once again fertile with Muslim hate in Liberal Country with the latest hate-fueling odyssey we just witnessed in Boston.

  6. douglasreed
    April 20, 2013, 3:25 am

    Mr Netanyahu, in London this week for Mrs Thatcher’s funeral, is quoted by the BBC as having ‘reiterated his support for “a two-state solution”, including a Palestinian state.’

    However, Mr Netanyahu is the leader of the right-wing Likud Party whose charter categorically rejects any Palestinian state in the West Bank for the 5 million Muslim Arabs who are the majority indigenous people of the region, having inhabited it for the last one thousand years during all of which time there was only ever a minority Jewish presence.

    So for whom is Netanyahu speaking? Certainly not for his Likud government coalition and just as certainly not for himself as prime minister. Perhaps he just made a small error when talking to the BBC – perhaps what he really meant to say was:
    ‘Regardless of the will of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and the international community in general, there will never be a two-state solution, or a Palestinian state, whilst I am prime minister of Israel’.

    Then his agenda in building ever increasing numbers of illegal settlements on Arab land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would be crystal clear. In which case, a catastrophic war in the region becomes inevitable.

    That being the likely scenario, is it in the interests of the free world, including Britain and the rest of the EU, for the US to continue supplying huge quantities of arms, bombs and strike aircraft to the, already nuclear-armed Israeli state at the demand of the American Israel lobby – or is this basically, a dangerous appeasement and a threat to the peace of the world?

  7. Justpassingby
    April 20, 2013, 4:18 am

    Have nothing to do with war, but about money.
    The arab rulers are as cocky as the israelis, they have arms en masse but dont dare starting any war, they are wimps, but they try to get americans to do it.

  8. Citizen
    April 20, 2013, 5:46 am

    Obama recently pledged $40 Billion dollars to Israel, extending foreign aid to 2027.

    So Bush Jr pledged $30 Billion, and now another $40 Billion will kick in, all to a state with 7 million people. Plus there’s more millions promised this year for Iron Dome.

    And that’s all enhanced by this arms deal, since Israel, unlike the Arabs doesn’t pay for the arms it gets from US.

    Israel is first to get the Osprey? It was the first to get a Foreign Trade Agreement. It may be first to get a non-reciprocal visa program. It holds all those MOUs, where where Israel gets promises of US security protection , free oil if needed, etc.

    Somebody needs to make a list of all the unique deals the US gives Israel, and a list of those on AIPAC’s planning board. Flyers should be put in every US postal mail box, or stuck in every door.

    • douglasreed
      April 20, 2013, 6:46 am

      There are virtually no members of Congress that have not been vetted and approved by AIPAC as being signed-up to its agenda. As AIPAC is an unelected lobby group acting in the interests not of the US but for the state of Israel, it follows that any member of Congress who adopts the AIPAC agenda cannot be representing their constituents as they have no mandate to support the agent of a foreign state.

      Therefore, the activities of AIPAC must be considered to be unAmerican and the support of signed-up Congressmen, and women, to be anti democratic . Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people.

      Today we have a government of the people, by AIPAC and for Israel. This is a travesty of democratic government and the billions of tax dollars sent to Israel should be invested instead in improving the standard of living and he employment prospects of lower-income and unemployed US families in Michigan, Alabama, New York and throughout the Union.

    • American
      April 20, 2013, 12:57 pm

      @ Citizen

      You can use this…

      Dear Friends,

      We are thrilled to announce that we have a new booklet available with updated information on US aid to Israel and all the associated costs to Americans.

      The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans updates the previous booklet, The Cost of Israel to the American People.
      * New booklet (PDF):
      * Previous booklet:

      With Tax Day here, this is a good time to spread the word about how much US tax money is going to Israel and what it’s being used to perpetrate.

      We encourage you to download and print this booklet to hand out on Tax Day, and order copies to share widely (orders will arrive after Tax Day). Please call (202) 631-4060 if you’d like help with how to print out and put together the booklet.
      * Download a PDF:

      We are working to get the booklet available through our online ordering system as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can order booklets by emailing [email protected] or calling (202) 631-4060.

      Best Regards,

      Alison Weir,
      Executive Director

    • MRW
      April 20, 2013, 1:00 pm


      Israel just acted on the MOU. It asked for $1.2 billion in oil shipped to it this past week.

      BTW, where is Shmuel? Did he get called up in the reserves a few months ago or is he back to lurking? ~/

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2013, 8:14 am

      I mean a “free trade agreement”–I think that was back in 1985, and you should read it. Since then of course, US has entered lots of them, and that’s why so many former US decent paying jobs are now overseas, and all we have by way of new jobs are poor-paying service jobs, primarily.

  9. Nevada Ned
    April 20, 2013, 8:38 am

    The cold war has been over for decades, but when it raged, the US found it very handy to cite the “Soviet Threat”. But how do you justify these vast military spending when there isn’t any Soviet Union any more? “Terrorism” fills the bill, so the “war on terror” replaces the “Soviet threat” as the way to justify this stupendous military spending, at a time when increasingly Americans are broke and hungry (and US military spending exceeds the military spending of the rest of the world, combined!!).

    If the US really did get into a war with Russia, the Saudis or the UAE wouldn’t be of much help. The worldwide spawning of little military machines loyal to Washington is, of course, justified by “defense”, but really it tilts the internal balance of power within Saudi Arabia or the UAE, bringing to power their own military. For example, the military runs Egypt. Egyptian Leaders from Nasser to Sadat to Mubarak came from the Egyptian Air Force.

    One final note on the battle that is fought incessantly at MondoWeiss: is US foreign policy supportive of Israel because the US finds Israel to be a strategic asset? Or is the Israel Lobby forcing the US to support Israel, against the US national interest?

    If it were entirely up to AIPAC, Saudi Arabia or the UAE wouldn’t get these warplanes. But if AIPAC took that position (“arm Israel, not Saudi Arabia!”) they would lose. The weapons companies want profits, US military spending boosts the US economy, the Saudis and the UAE want the weapons, and AIPAC wants Israel to get even more weapons, too. This latest arms deal is an example of US/Israeli convergence of interests.

    There certainly are examples that cannot be explained by the theory that US and Israeli interests are the same. Sometimes they conflict. Here’s a partial list: Jonathan Pollard…USS Liberty…Stewart Nozette…Larry Franklin. But for the most part, and in the long run, US imperial interests are parallel to Israeli interests, in trying to keep the Arab world divided, backward, and weak. Propping up the oil dictatorships is part of longstanding US imperial policy.

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2013, 8:15 am

      Yep. Once the USSR fell, did NATO get dissolved? No. It grew.

  10. Justpassingby
    April 20, 2013, 9:00 am

    People that hailed Hagel, gosh how wrong they were, will they admit?

  11. just
    April 20, 2013, 11:38 am

    I agree, Citizen.

    But the ‘average’ American won’t bother to read the flyer unless it’s a coupon for free and convenient chow mein or pizza.

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2013, 8:54 am

      Yeah, that reminds me, anybody know if the BDS billboards are still hanging around any public transit stations or along highways?

  12. Citizen
    April 20, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Anybody read this article on who the US wants to run Syria after the fall of Assad?

  13. MLE
    April 20, 2013, 12:50 pm

    When the Saudis buy us weapons its less about preparing for something and more about a “jobs program”. Their problem is not that they don’t have enough arms but their army is relatively small and they don’t have enough manpower to use what they buy. They just let it sit in the desert and rot.

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2013, 9:09 am

      The Saud elite’s oil power and wealth basically allows the average Saud not to work and to spurn jobs they feel is beneath them, which is why there are so many cheap foreign workers there, both legally and illegally. The locals get a free education and are often over-qualified for a lot of available jobs. Many choose to get educated on impractical studies, such as religion. The society is so conservative, even a tiny bend by the government, e.g., allowing some females to drive, combined with continued free university education, and dividing up job types with caps on foreign workers in them, goes a long way to quell any serious dissent. In short, as is essayed here, the Saudi regime buys security from its own citizens with its oil wealth:

  14. American
    April 20, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Been following this arms sale.
    Now that we have armed ‘our allies’ to the teeth what we need is for Russia to do a really big false flag on Isr and Saudi so they will attack and destroy each other.
    That would ‘re arrange’ the ME nicely.

    • MK_Ultra
      April 21, 2013, 10:43 am

      Just you wait. By the time this Boston business is over with, they’ll have the sheep believing that Russia is behind it (the reports about that are already flying) and they’ll bomb them on the way to Iran. Two for one. What could be better?

      • Citizen
        April 22, 2013, 11:31 am

        Here’s a video of an Israeli hotshot explaining that the Boston Bombings are making Americans even more in Israeli’s court than after 9/11:

        Recall what Bibi N let slip after 9/11? How it was a good thing because Americans will have more empathy with Israel?

  15. MRW
    April 20, 2013, 1:05 pm

    What does Israel need troop transport planes for? And why does the UAE need warplanes?

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2013, 8:29 am

      Yep, so far Hagel not showing even an ounce of what he was attacked for during the SOD vetting.

      Remember what happened to America’s first SOD, Forrestal? I bet Hagel remembers.

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2013, 8:34 am

      Osprey cost $30 Billion to develop through 2008; they cost $67 Million each. US Marines employed them in Iraq and Afghanistan. Virtue is, thanks to their ability to take off and land like a helicopter, then fly as a regular, fast troop transport, they are highly valued by anyone wanting to move and pick up or drop troops from a very short take-off and landing space. Both the Brits and Israel have expressed desire to get them.

      UAE harbors a whole US Navy fleet.

Leave a Reply