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Which nation spends more on its military: Iran or Israel?

Middle East
on 89 Comments

Your average American who followed the debate over the Iran deal would have gotten the impression that Tehran is a military giant, with a Wehrmacht that even without nuclear weapons is capable of unleashing a blitzkrieg across the entire Middle East.

The hard facts are different. In a valuable recent article in Foreign Policy, Trita Parsi and Tyler Cullis point out:

* Iran spends $15 billion a year on its military.

* By contrast, Saudi Arabia spends $80 billion — five times as much — and the United Arab Emirates budgets another $23 billion.

Parsi and Cullis conclude,

Far from being a hegemonic power, able to domineer and subdue its regional rivals with impunity, Iran has a regional position that remains untenable, all while its regional rivals procure weapons systems that make themselves increasingly invulnerable.

And what about Israel? The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates its annual spending at $23.2 billion, over 50 per cent more than Iran.

Approving the Iran deal will not end the efforts to demonize Tehran and grossly exaggerate its military potential. In another vital piece in Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt warns that the attempts to undercut the arrangement are already starting. He explains,

. . . having secured a landmark agreement rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, a bunch of influential people are now demanding the United States take a variety of steps whose avowed purpose and likely effect will be to keep U.S.-Iranian relations trapped in a spiral of suspicion, demonization, and counterproductive rivalry.

And what motivates some of these hostile people? Professor Walt again:

For AIPAC and the rest of the hard-line wing of the Israel lobby, this agreement is a rare but telling defeat. Their consolation prize, however, is the opportunity to extort some more military aid for Israel and to do whatever they can to ensure Iran remains a pariah state. The last thing they want is a Middle East where the United States can talk readily to all the significant actors, and where the Iranian bogeyman is no longer there to distract people from the still-unresolved conflict between Israel and its Palestinian subjects.

James North
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89 Responses

  1. Rudolph
    Rudolph
    September 17, 2015, 11:17 am

    Iran’s military is designed for defense not offense. “The Islamic Republic’s leaders have designed its foreign policy and national security strategy to preserve Iran’s territorial and political integrity in the face of [threats from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia]. The aim is not to establish Iran’s regional hegemony; it is to prevent any other regional or extra-regional power from attaining hegemony over Iran’s strategic environment. Even the U.S. Defense Department acknowledges the defensive character of Iranian strategy; as a [January 2014] Pentagon report puts it, ‘Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests.’” https://detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com/iran-quiz/

    • John O
      John O
      September 17, 2015, 12:08 pm

      So, rather like that other den of iniquity, Cuba. You won’t find many plans for Cuban forces to invade the USA at HQ in Havana. Probably a roomful of the reverse plans in the Pentagon.

  2. Kay24
    Kay24
    September 17, 2015, 1:06 pm

    Very interesting stats and figures. To hear the rhetoric against Iran in the US, you might think it was the opposite. Of course, neither our media, nor our good for nothing leaders, might refer to this inconvenient fact, when they stand in front of the American people and keep demonizing Iran. As if that alien nation they are devoted to, Israel is a paragon of virtue. When it comes to Saudi Arabia, I have seen it trying to spread Wahhabism, and exert influence in other nations, and I believe they are as devious as Israel (latest BFF in the ME).

  3. LA PLAYA
    LA PLAYA
    September 17, 2015, 1:23 pm

    SIZE MATTERS. What’s the geographic difference between Iran and Israel? Iran – which has not invaded/attacked another country in 200 years –is slightly larger than the US state of Alaska. Israel is the size of New Jersey. But then, Zionist Israel may have expansion plans and needs more $$$ military hardware. Cough up, American taxpayers…

  4. ivri
    ivri
    September 17, 2015, 4:33 pm

    In a contrarian manner Iran`s biggest obstacle is Israel smallness in terms of the distance between the two countries – you send a missile and miss just a little bit you and you end up hitting Gaza, the West-Bank Palestinians, Lebanon or Damascus. That is why Syria was critically important as an ally – its size and proximity to Israel compensated for that. Hezbollah cannot deliver here no matter how many missiles they put into tunnels because its relatively small population base is mainly located in a neighborhood of Beirut so enormously vulnerable to instant paralyzing-of-life there, possibly by just undoing the infrastructure there (by the very airplanes shown in the picture above, for which they have no match – not even close) – a prohibitively high price.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 18, 2015, 1:18 am

      “In a contrarian manner Iran`s biggest obstacle is Israel smallness in terms of the distance between the two countries – you send a missile and miss just a little bit you and you end up hitting Gaza, the West-Bank Palestinians, Lebanon or Damascus.”

      Which is why the idea of Iran nuking Israel has always been ridiculous.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        September 18, 2015, 10:43 am

        Ridiculous? Yes, but that has not stopped the apologists from saying so, and a couple of days ago Huckerbee stated that ” if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it will be the end of Western civilization”. I think the recent trip to meet Bibi has affected his thinking, because he sounds just like that the drama queen, Bibi.

    • amigo
      amigo
      September 18, 2015, 10:55 am

      “you send a missile and miss just a little bit you and you end up hitting Gaza, the West-Bank Palestinians, Lebanon or Damascus. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/spends-military-israel#sthash.YV10Oi8a.dpuf“ivri

      And what about the fallout ivri.

      The more you post , ivri , the more I believe Hasbara central needs to review your package.

  5. Keith
    Keith
    September 17, 2015, 5:04 pm

    ” Iran’s military spending is a fraction of Saudi Arabia’s, and is far below even the spending of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Altogether, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE—outspend Iran on arms by a factor of eight, an imbalance that goes back decades. The CSIS observes further that “the Arab Gulf states have acquired and are acquiring some of the most advanced and effective weapons in the world [while] Iran has essentially been forced to live in the past, often relying on systems originally delivered at the time of the Shah”, which are virtually obsolete. The imbalance is, of course, even greater with Israel, which, along with the most advanced U.S. weaponry and its role as a virtual offshore military base of the global superpower, has a huge stock of nuclear weapons.” (Noam Chomsky) http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/17/rogue-states-and-diplomacy-a-conversation-with-noam-chomsky/

  6. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    September 17, 2015, 7:14 pm

    with Putin parking one of Russias largest submarines (in fact-maybe THE worlds largest sub)-packed with at least a dozen of more ICBMs with multiple warheads in Latakia with a few warship escorts and Putin dumping 100s of millions more into arming Assad with advanced radar, sam’s and armour, building a base for his own Russian soldiers that may already be engaged in battle against the Syrian tyrants enemies it hardly matters what Iran vs. Israel spend when its obvious that the Mullahs (rulers of Iran), Putin (ruler of Russia) and Hezbollah(rulers of southern and other parts of the Lebanon) who is already a proxy and receives billions from Iran to fight for Assad-butcher of Syria it is a true wonder how the bleeding heart left-wing has so little compassion for the victim’s of Assad who every day he stays in power through Russian.Iranian/Hezbolli support kills and sends 100s more Syrians fleeing into neighboring countries.
    Oh-and lets not forget-the ‘refugees that are streaming into the Occident by the 100s of 1000s are a majority of the middle class to well of refugees that had the money to use make-heads to escape to EU where they can avail themselves of lucrative social services. Most of the poor refugees from Syria/Iraq/Yeman are stuck doing what most war refugees do-moving into neighboring nations to hopefully wait out hostilities and return.

    I have seen very little questioning of why just now-these past 2-3 weeks suddenly-it would seem out of the blue-that the 100,000s of thousands of refugees all massed on the southern borders of europe and stampeded in. Yet this war has been ongoing and creating refugees for 4yrs+. Why right now are throngs streaming in? How did these diverse refugee groups from different regions, tribes and countries all seem to work together to overwhelm the border controls of europe at the sam time. its a legitimate question and maybe there’s a legitimate answer. If somebody flung open the gates of refugee camps from turkey to yemen to pakistan at the same time-one might think it would be news

    • lonely rico
      lonely rico
      September 17, 2015, 10:46 pm

      >DaBakr

      Hezbollah (rulers of southern and other parts of the Lebanon) who …
      receives billions from Iran …

      Could you provide a citation for this amazing “fact” ?

      While you’re about it, could you explain what the following means –

      the middle class to well of refugees that had the money to use make-heads to escape to EU

      Thanks.

      • Laurent Weppe
        Laurent Weppe
        September 18, 2015, 11:45 am

        Hezbollah (rulers of southern and other parts of the Lebanon) who …
receives billions from Iran …
        Could you provide a citation for this amazing “fact” ?

        Nadim Shehadi, the director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, said his research shows that Iran spent between $14 and $15 billion in military and economic aid to the Damascus regime in 2012 and 2013

        Source

        The Hezbollah itself may not receive billions from Iran, but its Damascene patrons most certainly do.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 18, 2015, 6:08 pm

        @rc

        a large majority of the refugees flooding into europe were people who had access to money and were most likely off the middle classes. Not that this is a good or bad thing. Its just part of the whole question of why now-exactly now in the past 2 weeks have these refugees-the vast majority single males under 40-streaming over borders when the conflicts has been ongoing for some 4yrs+

        as for Hezbollahs funding-i would say that over the past 15 years billions would be an appropriate and conservative estimate of what Iran invests in its expansionist proxies and policies. And now just imagine how much more they can contribute with the end of sanctions. You must be creaming yourself with ecstasy.

      • piotr
        piotr
        September 18, 2015, 9:09 pm

        About the Bloombergian link given by our friend Laurent Weppe:

        The article reports opinion of experts. I will always remember a lecture on expert systems that I heard on an international conference. “What is an expert?” (meaning, what a program called “expert system” is supposed to do) asked the speaker, Lofti Zadeh, inventor of fuzzy logic. Silence in the audience. And the brilliant answer: “Expert is a person who cannot say: I do not know.” And there are multiple ways of using the opinion of experts.

        One way is to conduct championship of experts: who can provide the highest number? The same expert can make multiple attempts! In the cited article:

        (1) On Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told me that the envoy estimates Iran spends $6 billion annually on Assad’s government.

        (2) Nadim Shehadi, the director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, said his research shows that Iran spent between $14 and $15 billion in military and economic aid to the Damascus regime in 2012 and 2013

        (3) The Christian Science Monitor last month reported that de Mistura told a think tank in Washington that Iran was spending three times its official military budget–$35 billion annually–to support Assad in Syria. [this seems to be ca. 50% of the total Iranian export]

        Did de Mistura take the lead? Alas, no. Unlike the lowly CSM, Bloomberg Report has such a global presence that it can collect information more directly.

        (4) When asked about that earlier event, Jessy Chahine, the spokeswoman for de Mistura, e-mailed me: “The Special Envoy has estimated Iran spends $6 billion annually on supporting the Assad regime in Syria. So it’s $6 billion not $35 billion.

        Syria fields about 200,000 troops who are frequently engaged in combat. USA used roughly 100 billions per year to maintain 100,000 troops in Iraq, so my expert estimate is that Syria needs at least 20 billions — I assume that the cost per combat soldier is 10 times smaller, 10 being the smallest round number larger than 1.

        However, those numbers are totally fuzzy. They include donations of weapons that are not sold on the open market anywhere,, so one can try to estimate how much it would cost PRC to make such weapons, or for how much PRC would sell such weapons, or how much it costs Iran to extend production runs for weapons that they would make anyway, and so on, with the highest number being “how much such activity would cost in USA”. “No arm producer in USA would demean itself to make such a crap”. One thing is certain, all those estimate include a lot of guesses. By the way, Tufts estimate was “military and economic”.

        ====

        Fancy theory of expert piotr: Russia presumably gives some weapons to Syria, and sells some. The sales are for credit (that is certain). Iran guarantees some of those credits, and now that Iran’s finances are presumed to improve, Russia may accept larger Iranian-backed credit line, which may explained an increase in supplies.

      • MRW
        MRW
        September 19, 2015, 1:45 pm

        About the Bloombergian link

        Not to mention that it was written by Eli Lake, whose heart beats for Israel.

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero
        September 19, 2015, 10:49 pm

        MRW

        Not to mention that it was written by Eli Lake, whose heart beats for Israel.

        Yep. I remember the pic of Eli Lake in a Begin shirt:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/scribes-image-terrorist

    • ivri
      ivri
      September 18, 2015, 2:37 am

      @DaBakr
      Yes, in effect the inaction of Obama in Syria, where he let the moderates be crashed, allowed Russia and Iran to save what seemed a year ago a lost position. This strategy of running away from problems instead of confronting them with the hope that somehow they will get solved on their own or remain contained is now showing its price.
      Even the Europeans who used to cheer pacifist attitudes now have second thoughts given the price they are beginning to pay for the collapse of Syria in term of refugees.
      And it all comes to Obama exactly when the majority of Congress (and, by the polls, of the US citizenry) clearly worry that he has just embarked on a similar path with Iran. This is why Obama quickly summoned Netanyahu to Washington, whom he shunned earlier this year (did not even meet him when he came there). He has suddenly awakened to the risks and needs to defend his position in the eyes of the many that believe that his strategy has greatly weakened the American hand, which instead of bringing it calm, as he hoped, will soon face it with problems that in the meantime have gone huge.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        September 19, 2015, 9:54 am

        Obama want to act. it was your fellow aholes the republicans in congress that refused to give him the authroization to act. please don’t lie

      • annie
        annie
        September 21, 2015, 12:14 pm

        “to defend his position in the eyes of the many that believe that his strategy has greatly weakened the American hand ”

        oh please, what planet are you on? do you think obama watched the gop debate and started worrying about what those fruitcakes were saying. american is not the worlds policeman. our war in iraq brought on this madness. american military intervention in syria is not the answer here.

        i hope obama meets with putin and comes to some agreement that will facilitate peace. russia is not our enemy:

        US open to talks with Russia on Syria despite military buildup – See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-open-talks-russia-syria-despite-military-buildup-1530822980#sthash.CXGKHbSv.zwxJRvWW.dpuf

      • zaid
        zaid
        September 21, 2015, 4:08 pm

        Annie

        Recently all the comments he gave contains huge number (more than the usual) of low quality lies and fabrications (the type easy to debunk) which he picks up from anti islam/palestine websites (third rate websites).

        He is the kind of guy that just googles what he wants and copy paste the first thing he finds to fit his ideas without any scrutiny .

        If Mondweiss tolerates him more , the site would be plagued with such comments and would turn into a circus.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      September 18, 2015, 8:38 am

      @DB
      Let us say that the conspiracy theory you seem to be suggesting is true: the Syrian refugee crisis is being masterminded by Russia. So what? How does arming Israel to the teeth and sabotaging the president’s Iran deal help resolve the refugee crisis? More strife and more warfare are not going to help Syria. You are using the refugees to try to knock down the Iran deal and to support the accompanying Israel arms deal.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        September 18, 2015, 8:07 pm

        @DB –
        Thank you for completely dropping your ridiculous, repeated insinuations re Putin and Russia.

      • zaid
        zaid
        September 20, 2015, 10:02 pm

        Dabakr

        Can you show me the evidence ISIS actually said that.

        your integrity is on the line if you dont

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 20, 2015, 10:41 pm

        @el

        whlie I think Putin is a typical and dangerous Kleptocratic Strongman I am not necessarily against some of his policies per se. And others I abhor-I certainly can see why he is playing his cards that way. But again-as for him having anything to do with pushing this current refugee crisis-I never said it and think its absurd and don’t know how you read that into my remark.

        @zd

        My integrity? Hah. At least I have some to lose. Yours went out the back alley months ago. Just your recent comment about “no Jews” allowed at temple moun…oh yeah, i mean the al aqsa plaza.
        As for IS? […..]

      • zaid
        zaid
        September 21, 2015, 11:42 am

        Great mumbo jumbo Dabakr

        Now bring me the evidence for this nonsese

        “However-if you will go back and read what IS threatened-very vocally and publicly to many news outlets is that before they supposedly launch the next wave of terror on the ‘west; they will launch a wave of half-to-a million Muslims into Europe as a psychological blow and a first step in having Islam claim most or all of europe for its own caliphate. If that is a ‘conspiracy’ it certainly isn’t very secret. And if its simply ridiculous hyperbole-I’d like to know why.”

        Next time when you give ridiculous claims bring supporting evidence and dont make a fool out of yourself.

        now let me tezch you something about ISIS

        In ISIS ideology muslims ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LIVE IN THE WEST. actually they Ban SYRIANS and IRAQIS from going to europe.

        Unlike you i will provide evidence

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/09/islamic-state-alan-kurdi-photo-magazine-dabiq-syrian-refugees

      • annie
        annie
        September 21, 2015, 12:05 pm

        zaid, thanks for bringing this to my attention. he crossed my line.

        Dabakr, when making these sorts of allegations you need to provide supporting evidence. and for all you know these ‘isis’ onliners are jewish extremists: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-34292809

      • zaid
        zaid
        September 21, 2015, 4:15 pm

        Annie

        Recently all the comments he gave contains huge number (more than the usual) of low quality lies and fabrications (the type easy to debunk) which he picks up from anti islam/palestine websites (third rate websites).

        If Mondweiss tolerates him more , the site would be plagued with such comments and would turn into a circus.

      • annie
        annie
        September 21, 2015, 5:09 pm

        zaid, i have noticed this. i’ve been moderating less so i can’t speak for whomever is letting this stuff pass thru or what purpose it serves. it is very inflammatory.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 21, 2015, 9:18 pm

        Annie,

        It’s not the presence of a Bakr, with his murderous frenzy, which is a problem. The reader is adult enough for that and we all, or almost, can buy beer by presenting a driver’s license. What really sticks in the craw of many a participant is the censoring of anti-Zionist argument, especially if in a productive discussion.

      • annie
        annie
        September 22, 2015, 3:52 pm

        “many a participant” of anti zionists arguments don’t get censored here echo, but some do sometimes. for example, a perfect reasonable anti zionist comment that otherwise might get published won’t be if the writer suggests “they could stop being Jews”. it’s just stuff like that which will get one’s comment dumped.

        also, it’s amazing to me how many people who get their comments trashed try posting again prefacing the same comment with “this got dumped before.” when a moderator dumps a comment, we try to keep it dumped. these kind of red flag announcements just help us out.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 22, 2015, 7:11 pm

        “when a moderator dumps a comment, we try to keep it dumped. these kind of red flag announcements just help us out. ”

        That is fair enough, but sometimes it is difficult for the commenter to know what aspect of his/her comment is the reason why it was dumped. It is even more difficult when the offending section has been permitted at other times.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 22, 2015, 7:22 pm

        Annie, thanks for a good laugh in a gloomy day. And, of course, for responding at all.

    • pjdude
      pjdude
      September 18, 2015, 9:01 pm

      um Iran and Hezzbollah are fighting against ISIS. nice job there way to get your facts straight

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 20, 2015, 10:52 pm

        @pj

        exactly where did somebody claim that Iran had anything to do with the refugee crisis? (except for maybe the fact they have created 100s of 1000s of refugees and I haven’t read a thing about them taking very many into Iran.
        But maybe you should read first and comment second. Hezbollah-if anything-would be helping any Shi’a refugee if they could but their hands have really been tied down in brutal combat with their IS foes. This is basic IS 101.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        September 23, 2015, 2:07 am

        @daBakr
        seriously? i mean i’m used to right wingers being delusional. you flat out claimed Iranian and hizbullah support was to blame in the refugees. perhaps instead of accusing me of not reading you could not lie about what you said. i won’t hold my breath. so you accuse me of not reading and than dishonestly try and claim my point for your self. no you don’t get to pretend you didn’t claim Iran and hizbullah were supporting the side responsbile for the refugees ISIS and Assad.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 19, 2015, 2:03 am

      Amidst all the incomprehensible blether about Putin, Assad, Iran, Hezbollah, you do ask an interesting and important question.

      Why has this wave of refugees happened just now?

      If, as you hint, it is ISIS that has sent them, how did they manage that?

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        September 19, 2015, 6:15 pm

        @ RoHa (& DaBakr)
        What is the significance of “now”. The refugee crisis has been a pressure cooker building to explosion. So it exploded now. This “now” could have been last month or a month from now. It just happened to nbe at this particular now.
        DaBakr insinuates but won’t say what his conspiracy is because the moment he does so he sounds ridiculous. So he lobs out the meditation: is it hyperbole or is it nothing. Perhaps it’s just nothing. Perhaps it isn’t. Who knows? The world is so perplexing.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 20, 2015, 11:00 pm

        @el

        you want to fool yourself into believing that a almost 5yr brutal war that created over a million refugees “built up” and suddenly “exploded now” and the “NOW” has absolutely no significance?
        Fine. It was all chance that all the dozens if not 100s of maps spread out over 1000s of kms just simultaneously exploded.
        As for sounding ridiculous about naming the perpetrators of any conspiracy? I never named a conspirator because no reporter has been able to gain full access to all the relevant information to make a full accusation. The only thing that exists is innuendo and some reports here and there that point in this direction. That is quite a different story then making up ridiculous scenarios out of small bits of irrelevant information. I am not-nor have never been a fan of conspiracies but IS has been COMPLETELY clear and honest about what they intend to try and accomplish. If you have some problem with that then its your issue-not mine. I personally don’t know how capable IS is from accomplishing its ultimate goal but I do know they have accomplished MUCH much more then anyone ever thought they could just a year ago. Thats not conspiracy…thats just how it is. Beheadings, Rapes, Young non-muslim girls sold as sex slaves, mass executions of Christian, Yazidi and Shi’a-all in large screen panorama for public viewing. wake up Elliot.

        @ro
        how did IS manage it? IDK. That is what I am waiting to find out. Both if they did in fact “manage” something and if this sudden outflux was truly a chance explosion or something more orchestrated, and by who. I don’t claim to have definitive answers.

  7. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    September 17, 2015, 7:18 pm

    The budget figures are very misleading, because military budget is not the same as military strength. If military strength would be all about budget the US would have won the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq with ease. What is important is to win over people’s hearts and minds, that is to wage war like it was a permanent election campaign. If that succeeded than a few well-trained special forces blending into the population for asymmetric warfare with stunningly simple weapons will defeat the opponent.

    To understand that take a simple look at an Iranian-style weapon in GWB’s Iraq war, unit cost about 100 USD:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Improvised_explosive_device_explosively_formed_penetrator_Iraq.jpg

    And than have a look for a US-style weapon for the same purpose, unit cost about 500.000 USD:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Navistar_MaxxPro.JPG

    That’s comparable weapons for a purpose like controlling a road. The budget ratio in this example is about 1 to 5000. Often enough, the guys with the Iranian-style weapons won the battle in Iraq.

    • piotr
      piotr
      September 18, 2015, 12:08 am

      As DaBakr wrote, “Putin is dumping 100s of millions of dollars into arming Assad”, in the same time US Congress budgeted 500 million dollars to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition, which resulted in fielding 56 troops. 56 superheroes would be more then enough, as any fan of fantasy and mecha can tell you, but superheroes they were not. Allegedly, four are still fighting after all these days (about a month). But do not worry: there is another class of 120-200 students.

      The most interesting is that KSA sent 1000 troops to Yemen, with the budget of 80 billion, UAE sent 3000 with the budget of 15 billion. So for 30 times less than UAE budget, USA should be able to field 100 troops, which somewhat matches the size of our moderate contingent. There is also some evidence that GCC force in Yemen is quite short of superheroes.

  8. RoHa
    RoHa
    September 18, 2015, 1:20 am

    “And what about Israel? The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates its annual spending at $23.2 billion,…”

    Er …just who is spending the money to arm Israel?

  9. Neil Schipper
    Neil Schipper
    September 18, 2015, 6:19 am

    Other Iran to Israel ratios:

    – 10:1 by population
    – 76:1 by area

    Iran borders 7 other nations, of which 6 are 90%+ Muslim (7th, tiny Christian Armenia, has a teensy shared border).

    All nations (territories) Israel borders are 50%+ Muslim; Israel is of course the only 50%+ Jewish state.

    Maybe Iran can bring peace to the region by offering to the Jews or Arabs of Israel-Palestine one or two 76ths of its territory…

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      September 18, 2015, 10:24 am

      Please tell me you’re not actually being serious.

    • zaid
      zaid
      September 18, 2015, 5:21 pm

      or even better….why dont the USA offer the jews in palestine parts of say….. Alaska or Texas.
      they share the same JudoChristian civilization dont they.

      • gamal
        gamal
        September 18, 2015, 6:14 pm

        ” JudoChristian ”

        I was going to post a link to my kenpo school “Judochristian”, but you know every everyone is with you

        you the Palestinians are inspiration to billions, for your ability to resist with nothing, with the huge burden of the global hegemon on your backs, we respect you all from the bottom of our hearts, and remember No White God (watch till you see Rabin).

        I want what is rightfully mine….I will not be conquered

        would a white god save me from whitemans oppression

        https://youtu.be/A1ZB1gjKvJY

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 18, 2015, 6:23 pm

        better yet-why don’t people who have been defeated-numourous times-admit they can’t defeat the Israelis and act like a people who tried their best and failed and come to a negotiating table with reasonable compromises-not an attitude of having been equal in the area of battle and conquest.
        Can you imagine if the early victims of the Arab/Muslim conquest of Judea and Samaria tried to negotiate with the Shieks and Caliphs as if they had been victorious in their battles and fights.
        Not giving short shrift to the tenacity and pride of Palestinian people but sometimes-like the first nations in the US-when you lose enough-you lose. But it obvious the choice has been made to keep fighting on until-well until infinity it seems. Now the strategy has turned to ‘lawfare’ which will eventually morph back into warfare in endless cycles. But hey-feel free to check out Texas your self-its dry-isn’t it

      • straightline
        straightline
        September 18, 2015, 7:38 pm

        Yes DeBakr – totally agree, I don’t understand why the Germans and Japanese keep complaining about our colonisation of their countries. After all they were defeated by us – and in Germany’s case twice. Why don’t they just negotiate with us? We could let them keep a North Rhine-Westphalia – they can all go and live there. Oh, wait a minute …

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 18, 2015, 7:41 pm

        Zaid,

        I say give them Texas. Gift it and godspeed.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 18, 2015, 7:49 pm

        Abu Bakr,

        Let me try a little experiment in paraphrase:

        why don’t people who have been defeated-numourous times, unvoluntary humorous BS-admit they can’t defeat the National-Socialists and act like a people who tried their best and failed and come to a negotiating table with a noose around their necks, as not only any reasonable compromises but also the most abject surrender and brown-nosing have been rejected by the noncompromising National-Socialist Reich -not even a mention of “attitude of having been equal in the area of battle and conquest” even so long after the treaty of Westfalia and right after the UN Charter, both absolutely prohibiting any conquest. Can you imagine if the early conquerors of the ancient local inhabitants of Moravia and Transylvania tried to negotiate with the locals as if they existed?

        But it obvious the choice has been made to keep fighting on until-well until infinity it seems. Or at least for the thousand years to come –don’t these insects ever learn that this is a thousand-year Reich?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2015, 7:58 pm

        “But it obvious the choice has been made to keep fighting on until-well until infinity it seems.”

        They won’t need to wait very long, at the rate Jews (in the affluent Western nations) are dissociating, out marrying, and coming to their senses about Zionism.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        September 18, 2015, 9:04 pm

        @dabakr

        the palestinians have come to the table with reasonable compromises. its your precious war criminals that are incapable of compromise reasonable or other wise. so long Israel demands humilation and the giving up basic human rights the conflict will continue

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 18, 2015, 10:44 pm

        || DaBakr: … why don’t people who have been defeated-numourous times-admit they can’t defeat the Israelis and act like a people who tried their best and failed and come to a negotiating table with reasonable compromises-not an attitude of having been equal in the area of battle and conquest. … ||

        Because:
        – Israel exists as an oppressive state, a colonialist state, an expansionist state and religion-supremacist state. It has no right to exist in any of those forms.
        – Israel’s victims are entitled to justice, accountability and equality. They should not be expected or required to negotiate away any of their rights.

        || … Can you imagine if the early victims of the Arab/Muslim conquest of Judea and Samaria tried to negotiate with the Shieks and Caliphs as if they had been victorious in their battles and fights. … ||

        No matter where on the planet or how far back in time their search takes them, Zio-supremacists never fail to look to the worst examples of human behaviour for guidance.

      • talknic
        talknic
        September 19, 2015, 6:24 am

        @ DaBakr “….-why don’t people who have been defeated-numourous times-admit they can’t defeat the Israelis”

        Oy vey. So they’re not an existential threat to Israel. Glad we got that sorted …

      • zaid
        zaid
        September 20, 2015, 10:11 pm

        Dabakr

        i am sure you are talking about the hebrew conquest of Canaan (Palestine) and not the islamic one, since the islamic conquest fought the Romans and not the natives (us palestinians) and thats why we welcomed the Arabs as liberators and not conquers.

        as for admitting Defeat:

        Sorry but the history of Palestine showed us that power shifts . Just look at what happened to the Jewish conqurers of Canaan at the hands of the Glorious Babelonians. or at what happened to the crusades at the hands of the Noble muslims.

        We believe that an eye can defeat a needle.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 20, 2015, 11:06 pm

        @sl

        uh. Germany and Japan completely capitulated to the US before their nations , economies and infrastructures were rebuilt with American funds. Complete and total surrender is evidently not in the Palestinian DNA. I’m not judging but I can say the Jews know a thing to two about complete capitulation as well. So your sarcastic remark is pretty stupid-afaict.

    • talknic
      talknic
      September 18, 2015, 11:46 pm

      @ DaBakr “why don’t people who have been defeated-numourous times-admit they can’t defeat the Israelis and act like a people who tried their best and failed and come to a negotiating table with reasonable compromises”

      The Palestinians have no legal moral or ethical obligation to forgo ANY of their LEGAL rights under the laws and UN Charter Israel obliged itself to uphold. They have however, offered twice now, in front of the world at the UN, to forgo 78% of their rightful territories for peace with Israel.

      Israel’s response has been to keep being in breach of International Law, the UN Charter and GC IV, building more illegal settlements in non-Israeli territories.

      Israel’s offers have entailed swapping non-Israeli territories for non-Israeli territories so that Israel can keep non-Israeli territories. No compromises at all. In 67 years, Israel has offered NO genuine THING, NOTHING, NADA, ZIP, NIL towards peace with Palestine

      “Can you imagine if the early victims of the Arab/Muslim conquest of Judea and Samaria tried to negotiate with the Shieks and Caliphs as if they had been victorious in their battles and fights”

      Irrelevant. Israel obliged itself to proclaimed and recognized frontiers, International Law and the UN Charter, it has failed

      ” But it obvious the choice has been made to keep fighting on until-well until infinity it seems. “

      There’s actually nothing stopping Israel from adhering to the law and withdrawing from all non-Israeli territories and taking its illegal settlers with it as of today.

      “Now the strategy has turned to ‘lawfare’ which will eventually morph back into warfare in endless cycles.”

      Hilarious stuff. The Zionist Federation has been practicing ‘lawfare’ for over a century in its colonization of Palestine

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        September 19, 2015, 7:12 am

        To your point, why can’t those who keep stealing lands and building illegal settlements admit they are nothing but disgusting thieves and liars. Israel’s apologists here keep whining about being victims most of the time, yet the facts show they are far from being victims, they are the aggressors, inflicting pain and suffering on the powerless.

        “Israel has moved 600,000 Squatters onto Palestinian Land in West Bank”

        “http://www.juancole.com/2015/09/israel-600000-squatters-palestinian.html

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        September 19, 2015, 9:33 am

        It is clear that Israel is, in certain very important senses, an existential threat to the Palestinians. If this threat is not to be carried out then there does need to be reasonable compromise. The natural first step is for Israel to propose a fully worked-out scheme, withdrawing the existential threat (so involving 2 states) and ending the dire dynasty of meetings with nothing to discuss, and say that it is prepared to consider any counter-proposals. This is the only way to demonstrate that the half-mythical Two State Solution is in fact more real than the Yeti.
        Those Israeli citizens who would like to have a solution ought, I would suggest, to press forward with concrete proposals of their own.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 20, 2015, 11:09 pm

        @k
        yeah. I knew that comment was going to get many here riled up. maybe it was a mistake to post it but i stand by what I wrote. I do believe that the Palestinian Arabs have a right to take whatever position they feel they need to. I don;t have to think it makes sense or is even in their best interests but thats not my call to make. It is theirs alone.

        @mh

        surprisingly-i think you make sense in many ways. and both Israelis (especially the very right wing) and the Palestinian people must be prepared fully (and this won’t happen overnight) for what painful compromise will look, feel and be like. They must be prepared by leaders who are not kleptocratic buffoons or Hamlet-like custodians of the status quo. Sharon may have been hated by many-but he was the man for the Israeli job. I don’t know who is up to the job now. I also don’t know any Palestinian/Arab leader who Palestinian people would listen to (in respect to making a peace) either.

    • amigo
      amigo
      September 23, 2015, 1:17 pm

      “Other Iran to Israel ratios:

      – 10:1 by population
      – 76:1 by area
      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/spends-military-israel#sthash.6oNzazy9.dpuf” NS

      So you have a map of Israel and it includes her borders???.

      Do share.

  10. lysias
    lysias
    September 18, 2015, 10:40 am

    Saudi Arabia has such a dismal record of military success (again on view in the Yemen hostilties) that I suspect the great bulk of that $80 billion is wasted. I wonder how much of it goes into the pockets of members of the Saudi royal family.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      September 18, 2015, 10:45 am

      The Gulf states’ military expenditure – like so much in that region – is mostly for show. Also, it’s a crucial part of these states’ ”deal” with the West: you turn a blind eye to our human rights abuses, and we prop up your ‘defence’ industries. I have heard that the Gulf armies aren’t even trained to use much of the fancy weaponry they buy, and the governments won’t train them because they – espcially the Saudis – don’t trust their own people to remain loyal to them.

      • lysias
        lysias
        September 18, 2015, 11:46 am

        Don’t forget to add the last part of that “deal” to your description:

        Also, it’s a crucial part of these states’ ”deal” with the West: you turn a blind eye to our human rights abuses, and we prop up your ‘defence’ industries., and then in turn those “defense” industries make big campaign contributions to the politicians

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 18, 2015, 9:27 pm

        The RSAF certainly seems to know how to use their equipment when directed against Yemen, and they were pretty good against Iraqi forces in the Kuwait war.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        September 19, 2015, 1:13 pm

        A very interesting point, lysias. Are the campaign donors real donors or are they more like front men – no doubt proud of what they do for the cause – for a system which organises money from tax breaks and government contracts so that it flows into politicians’ campaign chests?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 21, 2015, 9:49 pm

        @ lysias

        They know how to fly the planes and drop the bombs. That’s using the equipment.
        Achieving their objectives and respecting international norms are totally different matters.
        The article suggests more US assistance, but the US isn’t doing too well at achieving objectives and respecting international norms in other theatres.

  11. fishbiol
    fishbiol
    September 18, 2015, 10:57 am

    Source: http://www.albawaba.com/news/israel-us-work-keep-israel%E2%80%99s-nukes-table-annual-iaea-conference-744440

    Israel succeeded in defeating at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual conference on Thursday an Egyptian resolution backed by Arab and Muslim states calling on the IAEA to demand Israel open its nuclear facilities to inspectors.

    The resolution also called for the Middle East to be recognized as nuclear weapons-free zone.

    The resolution was defeated at the IAEA conference by a margin of 63-41.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement following the vote, saying that he had called 30 world leaders and convinced them to reject the proposal given the situation in the Middle East, especially Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon.

    Israel’s diplomatic coup was aided by the United States behind the scenes and the pressure it exerted on countries to vote against the measure.

    Countries such as Australia, Canada and a number of South American states joined the American effort on Israel’s behalf.

    By Yossi Melman

  12. RobertHenryEller
    RobertHenryEller
    September 18, 2015, 11:09 am

    Why is Tehran demonized?

    Because it “has to be” demonized, of course. To support the narrative. To maintain the posture of the defendant, the victim.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      September 20, 2015, 11:20 pm

      @rhe

      certainly not demonized for driving around to dozens of towns and rounding up homosexuals and then hanging them from construction cranes after mock Islamic trials.

      Not demonized for the brutal and uneducated forces of the morality police and Basij either.

      A true-believing far left-wing fanatic.*

      *Oh sorry. I forgot that almost 60 yrs ago the US CIA assisted the Iranian monarchists and the British mi6 with a plan to overthrow the socialist Mossedegh. That really explains away everything. ALL of the theocratic regimes iron fisted grip on absolute power.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        September 21, 2015, 10:54 am

        Dabakr, thinks her derisive, sarcastic, dismissive, bullying and superior act will obsure a complete absence of reason in her posts.

      • zaid
        zaid
        September 21, 2015, 12:07 pm

        “certainly not demonized for driving around to dozens of towns and rounding up homosexuals and then hanging them from construction cranes after mock Islamic trials.”

        show me one example of this happening (with the names).

  13. RobertHenryEller
    RobertHenryEller
    September 18, 2015, 11:17 am

    Ostensibly, the U.S. gives Israel about US$3 billion a year for defense.

    But how much lower would the annual U.S. defense budget be, how much lower our national debt attributable to unfunded defense expenditure (e.g. the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars), if Israel were not our “essential ally” in the Middle East?

    I suspect that if we honestly attributed the cost of supporting Israel militarily that stays in our own budget, outside of the money we directly and overtly contribute to Israel, we would see our actual contribution to Israel is much higher than $3 billion a year, perhaps even multiples of $3 billion.

    Does anyone know the answer?

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 18, 2015, 12:33 pm

      Yeah, about ten billion per year in direct and indirect aid plus a modest sum for US business lost. Hence, about half of Israel’s total annual spending on “defense.” It’s absurd, but true.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      September 18, 2015, 2:09 pm

      The usual hasbara ‘explanation’ for this massive aid is that it actually benefits the US, because most of it goes back into the US ‘defence’ industry. Even if that is true – and I don’t know if it is or not – wouldn’t these industries benefit much more if Israel actually paid for the stuff with thier own money, rather than with funds donated by the US? For all their many faults, the Gulf states do at least pay their way when it comes to buying US and British weaponry.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 19, 2015, 6:10 pm

        @
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        MIC loves war business, but, unlike any other US deal with a foreign country, 26% of all US military aid to Israel is used by Israel’s arms dealers to directly compete with US arms dealers. It’s a unique deal, same as everything re Israel.

  14. Kay24
    Kay24
    September 18, 2015, 11:27 am

    This is ironic. An effort by Arab nations to monitor Israel’s nuclear arsenal has been rejected at the UN automatic watchdog annual gathering – guess who nixed it? One guess, and you will be right.

    This is priceless, considering how outraged Israel is about the Iranians nuclear program, it is the usual zionist “do as I say not as I do” narrative. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    “VIENNA (Reuters) – An Arab bid to pressurize Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal failed on Thursday after Washington and other powers united to reject it at the U.N. atomic watchdog’s annual gathering.

    http://news.yahoo.com/arab-push-pressurize-israel-thwarted-u-n-nuclear-182916575.html

    • just
      just
      September 18, 2015, 7:15 pm

      It’s nothing short of despicable and disgusting, Kay.

      I am still reeling…

      Perhaps there’s a very good reason that:

      “Holy See Flag to Be Raised Outside UN Due to Palestinian Proposal

      Flag to be raised at pope’s arrival, in turnaround from earlier Vatican stance; General Assembly overwhelmingly approved Palestinian proposal to raise flags of UN’s two non-member observer states. …”

      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.676645?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      Seems the good Pope stands in solidarity with the Palestinians~ really and truly. I don’t think that this Pope values the ongoing hypocrisy wrt Israel or Israel’s criminal and violent behavior at all…

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        September 18, 2015, 9:56 pm

        It is sad that for the Palestinians, having their flag flying with other nations at the UN, is considered an accomplishment. They should be free, their flag part of the international community, and their all that was stolen given back to them.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        September 20, 2015, 11:04 am

        Time for him to press his bet…and visit the Mosque in Jerusalem.

  15. Boo
    Boo
    September 18, 2015, 12:37 pm

    Uh-oh. There’s that pesky Magen David — *gasp* sans horizontal stripes — staring me in the face again.

  16. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 19, 2015, 1:17 pm

    I think Aipac et al. demonise Iran as part of a scheme intended to enable Israel to continue its insane effort to keep the West Bank permanently.

  17. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    September 20, 2015, 11:23 pm

    > MRW (10h49 pm)

    … written by Eli Lake, whose heart beats for Israel.

    Lake (of the Begin T-shirt) is a fine journalist, gives the facts, lets the reader draw her own conclusions.
    Briefly –
    1. Staffan Mistura – Damascus receives $6 billion from Iran
    2. Nadim Shehadi – Damascus receives $14-15 billion from Iran
    3, Steven Heydemann – Damascus receives $ 15-20 billion from Iran

    Who to believe?
    Let’s settle for the mean, $14-15 billion for Damascus.
    Not too bad for Iran, a country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $404.1 billion [CIA Factbook].

    And Israel?
    Receives only $3.1 billion from the USA, with a GDP of $17.4 trillion.

    Why does Israel receive so little in comparison?
    Perhaps the US doesn’t really like Israel.
    Perhaps this parsimony is a sign of deep-seated unrecognized anti-Semitism in Congress and the US administration?

    If Americans knew, would they tolerate this stinginess to the only Jewish democracy in the ME?

    • lonely rico
      lonely rico
      September 21, 2015, 5:24 am

      I tried to delete this post (11h23 pm), now find it is awaiting moderation. Please delete it. Thanks.

  18. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    September 21, 2015, 5:20 am

    Like piotr, I read the Eli “I love Begin” Lake article in Bloomberg, and with three possible options for the amount of Iranian aid to Damascus –
    1. Staffan de Mistura: $6 billion
    2. Nadim Shehadi: $14-15 billion
    3. Steven Heydemann: $3.5-4 billion
    I opted for the mean figure, the $6 billion.

    So Iran, with a Gross National Product (GNP) of around $400 billion (CIA Factbook) contributes $6 billion to Syria,
    while the USA with a GNP of $17+ trillion, contributes a
    MEAGRE $3.5 BILLION to the only Jewish democracy in the Middle East.

    This parsimony is clear proof the USA,
    despite the constant declarations of their leaders,

    does not truly love Israel

    with the same depth of affection that Iran feels toward Syria.

    Somewhat surprising Lake (whose heart beats for Israel) didn’t mention the stinginess of the US vis-a-vis Israel compared to Iranian generosity to Syria.

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      September 21, 2015, 1:08 pm

      The idiotic US invasion of Iraq was part of a scheme to “protect” Israel. Ergo, cost to US to protect Israel since 2001 is several trillion dollars.

  19. just
    just
    September 22, 2015, 6:35 am

    Gag on this:

    “Barak Says U.S. Should Give Israel Iran Strike Capability …

    Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he would expect the United States to equip Israel with the arms that would enable it to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if needed.

    Barak made the statement last Thursday at an event at Harvard University, in response to a question about what measures that should be taken to prevent the continued development of Iran’s nuclear program now that Tehran has signed a nuclear deal with the major world powers.

    The question came from Prof. Graham Allisom, who specializes in matters of national security, mainly with nuclear and terrorist threats. He said the time may be right to “request or expect that the American administration find a way to equip Israel with the tools to carry out an independent operation, if the need arise [sic], against… the Iranian nuclear program,” should this become necessary – i.e. if the two countries agreed that a significant violation of the nuclear agreement had occurred and that the Iranians were moving in the direction of acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

    The United States is committed to preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors, and President Barack Obama remains loyal to this idea, Barak added. The most urgent task, he said, is to “resume working relationship between the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem and the White House.” He said that the two sides need “to sit behind closed doors, making sure that we see the same challenges and making sure that that Iranians are trying to cheat, to allocate enough intelligence… to make sure they won’t succeed in trying to violate the agreement.”

    Israel and the U.S., he continued, should sit together and define “what would constitute a significant violation” of the agreement, what the response should be, which violations would justify reinstating the sanctions regime on Iran and which violations would put the military option back on the table. Such bilateral understandings will require a high level of mutual trust and intimacy, Barak added, and he hopes this will indeed happen.

    Barak also proposed that the Americans convene a regional conference, with the participation of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf States and Turkey, to coordinate the battle against extremist Sunni Islam and work to block Iranian efforts to become the regional hegemon. …”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.677130?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    “regional hegemon”… Well, at long last, the phrase is written by somebody else.

    The US “should give” NOTHING to Israel. It should sanction Israel, and force Israel to abide by international law and countless UN resolutions, etc.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      September 22, 2015, 7:05 am

      I agree. We should NOT give anything to Israel. What chutzpah! They are greedy little parasites trying to extract all they can, even in their defeat. These zionists are masters at manipulating a situation and getting the most they can out of it. We are under no obligation to give in to their demands, and this parasitic relationship should stop, but unfortunately their servants here have got our leaders shackles, and as long as we are under occupation, we will be used by them.
      Sometimes it is hard to believe that the world’s biggest superpower is controlled so much by zionists, and that this “alliance” has been nothing but trouble for us.

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