Distorting Mideast policy

According to Laura Rozen (note here yesterday) the administration’s upset that Netnayahu isn’t infinitely pliable.

The American team is said to be frustrated and upset at Netanyahu’s dismissal to date of the package, which was drafted by the NSC’s Dennis Ross in close consultation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho.

“They’re really upset,” one Washington Middle East hand in close contact with administration officials said Tuesday. “At the end of the day, they made this incredibly good faith effort to keep Bibi at the table.” And Bibi proved as yet unwilling to budge.

“’We put our asses on the line,’” the sense of dismay among the U.S. Middle East team at Netanyahu’s rejection of the U.S. package was described. “’We worked with your defense minister and gave you this amazing deal, all the cover you needed to extend the freeze. And you not only rejected it, but put forward a counterproposal [demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] pandering to the right and a stalling tactic.’”

Add to that the complaint of administration water carrier and thumb sucker, Thomas Friedman, that Israel’s acting like a spoiled child.

Aside from the fact that the “counterproposal” should be a premise of any peacemaking, what’s troubling is that there is no other country that seemingly gets singled out with kind of leak or synchronized cajoling.

Last year President Obama asked King Abdullah to offer a confidence building measure to Israel. Abdullah refused. There was no orchestrated outrage parcelled out to reporters and pundits to show the adminstration’s dissatisfactoin with the Saudis.

Now we learn that the administration has decided to reward the Saudi stubbrorness.

Defense industry analysts said the weapons sale is key to U.S. efforts to boost support among Arab allies and counter any threats from Iran. The deal is also seen as a boon for U.S. defense companies as the Pentagon tightens its budget in ways that could curb contracting opportunities.

Boeing makes the F-15, the Apaches, the Little Birds and some of the other equipment. Raytheon makes some of the anti-radar missiles.

“There’s an enormous amount at stake in terms of U.S. foreign policy, credibility in the region, and the health of the aerospace industry,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace industry analyst at the Teal Group in Fairfax. “When you sell combat aircraft you’re also selling a strategic relationship. It is a symbolic commitment to consult on common defense issues, and when you operate the same equipment, that often means joint training and an ongoing military relationship.”

The sale is framed as a good thing (“to counter threats from Iran) and little oppostion is mentioned. (That comes from Rep Weiner.)

If Israel were treated to some sort of positive attention from the administration but was deemed to be obstinate, the critics from within and without the administration would be quoted all over the article. Support for those ungrateful Israelis is uesless, it could only the result of that outsized Jewish influence on politics. But the uncooperative Saudis get a huge weapons package and the hypreventilators are silent. Again, which lobby distorts America’s interests?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.

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5 Responses to Distorting Mideast policy

  1. Pablo Schwartz says:

    1) Netanyahu is a tough Philly kid. nothing this administration tries is likely to phase him.

    2) i would be *very* interested in discovering who in Congress is for and against this maddening Saudi arms deal. i will, in fact, make every effort to discover just that. as i’ve said before, the Plutocrats *love* the Saudis, owing to their wealth, but the majority of Americans feel a bond with Israel that extends beyond religious interests.

    anyway, a sharp and timely post. thanks.

  2. Gerry says:

    Despite the massive arms sale to the Saudis during the Reagan Administration, they still were unable to fight the Iraqis in 1990. If the USA and allies had not entered the war, Saudi Arabia would have been overrun by Saddam Hussein’s army.

    The same thing will happen if Iran should attack the Gulf countries.

  3. anon says:

    Gerry is correct.

    Way too many people confuse the amount of toys with the ability to use them.
    With proper tactical doctrine and superb training, modern high end weaponry is awesomely potent. A huge force multiplier. But without those key elements, and
    others, it is just so much steel and gunpowder.

    Surely it can kill.

    But they will have no practical difference in affecting military results.

    Now contrast the bucket after bucketful of stuff with why the Israelis ACTUALLY
    have defeated its enemies who out number the tiny democracy 50 to 1.

    First, the American weaponry Israel uses IS the best in the world. Also, the locally produced Israeli material is exactly suited to her needs. And is very
    potent outside of her area of operations.

    Second, as the dicta says: “The moral is to the physical as three is to one.” Israel is hugely motivated knowing that the sea is only a few miles away. There can be no long retreats.

    Third, Israeli doctrine is superb and crafted to match her unique needs. Her enemies doctrines seemingly go back to the days of mass charges poorly led men with the hopes of overwhelming the defense.

    Fourth, Israeli training is excellent, highly realistic and continuous. Yet without dulling their troops edge.

    Fifth, since Israel is a small country, and fighting on interior lines, it is in very good shape logistically. (Not that the IDF doesn’t make major blunders. Between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War they tore up the railroad running through the Sinai to strengthen the fortifications in Bar Lev line. Which cost them dearly in October 1973)

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Tzahal has what is arguably the finest MILITARY leadership in the current world. This is true at all levels. From the most vitally important non-commissioned officer role to what has been termed
    ‘The Israeli Composite’ field grade. (See “Alternative to Armageddon: The
    peace-potential of Lightning war” Yale-White-Manteuffel @ 1970 Rutgers University
    LOC 71-119510)

    [I will refrain from commenting on Israel's current political and diplomatic leadership.]

    So … yeah … our good “friends” the Saudis are buying an almost unbelievable amount of American weapons. Lots of hardware. But they have never demonstrated the ability to use it particularly well. Not much software to use it effectively.

  4. Michael Lonie says:

    Gerry is right. In any case the Wahhabist Entity is more likely to use American arms against Israel than against Iran.

    In the 1980s the Wahhabist Entity’s Air Force had Arab pilots but expat ground maintainance personnel. Their contracts said that, in the event of a war, they would no longer have to serve. In other words the Wahhabist Entity’s Air Froce could make one sortie, then would be grounded. Those that survived the one sortie, that is (Arab pilots after all). Maybe the Wahhabist Entity now has home-grown mechanics to support its aircraft, but I’ll bet it still has a heavy dependence on expat techs, who will not be there after the war starts.

  5. Pablo Schwartz says:

    ah, some good points. Saudi in a fighter jet: “what? no chauffeur?”

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