The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.
Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.
In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.
American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Mr Obama in November’s election.
In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Mr Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.
In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.
The deal takes into account neither inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.
A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.
Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even The New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.
Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.
But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.
Almost no one blames the US for Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own nuclear arsenal.
In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.
The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.
Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.
The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyberwarfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.
But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.
Some believe that Mr Obama signed the aid package to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Mr Netanyahu into making peace.
Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate unity to confound critics of the aid deal.
If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.
Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity.
– See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf
He Who Hesitates Is Lost And Russia Hesitated
By Paul Craig Roberts
September 25, 2016 „Information Clearing House“ – The Russian government deceived itself with its fantasy belief that Russia and Washington had a common cause in fighting ISIS. The Russian government even went along with the pretense that the various ISIS groups operating under various pen names were “moderate rebels” who could be separated from the extremists, all the while agreeing to cease fighting on successive verges of victory so that Washington could resupply ISIS and prepare to introduce US and NATO forces into the conflict. The Russian government apparently also thought that as a result of the coup against Erdogan, which was said to implicate Washington, Turkey was going to cease supporting ISIS and cooperate with Russia.
Alas, the Russians so fervently, or perhaps I should say feverishly, desired an agreement with Washington that they deceived themselves. If Finian Cunningham’s report is correct, Washington has taken advantage of Russia’s urging that Washington and Turkey join in the attack on ISIS by invading northern Syria under the guise of “fighting ISIS.”
Syria has now been partitioned, and the pretend or fake “moderate rebels” can be built up inside the US/Turkish occupied areas of Syria and the war against Syria kept going for as long as Washington wants. The western presstitutes will report that the Turkish/American forces occupying areas of Syria are not invaders but are attacking ISIS.
With US, Turkish, and, little doubt, soon other NATO troops operating inside Syria, the neoconservatives will have many opportunities to provoke a conflict with Russia from which Russia will have to stand down or reply with force. In the event of a Trump presidential victory, the neocons want to make certain Trump is embroiled in a war that will prevent an accommodation with Russia.
It is unclear whether US Secretary of State Kerry’s effort to arrange a Syrian ceasefire was sincere and he was sandbagged by the Pentagon and CIA. Regardless, if Kerry was sincere, he is obviously unable to stand up to the neocons, blessed as the State Department is with Victoria Nuland and a number of other warmongers.
Obama is equally weak, which is why he was chosen by the oligarchy as president. A person without experience and knowledge is an excellent tool for the oligarchy. American blacks and white liberals actually believed that an inexperienced candidate from nowhere without an organization of his own could make a difference. Apparently, the gullibility of a majority of Americans is endless. This American hallmark of gullibility is why a handful of neoconservatives can so easily lead the sheeple into endless wars.
The idiot Americans have been at war for 15 years and the morons have no idea what has been achieved. The fools are unaware that the US in its decades long accumulation of weakness now confronts two major nuclear powers: Russia and China.
Americans have been taught by the presstitutes serving the military/security complex that nuclear war is not all that different from ordinary war. Look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two targets of American atomic bombs. Today, seven decades later, the cities are flourishing, so what’s the problem with nuclear weapons?
The atomic bombs that Washington dropped on these helpless civilian centers while the Japanese government was trying to surrender, were mere popguns compared to today’s thermo-nuclear weapons. One Russian SS-18 wipes out three-fourths of New York state for thousands of years. Five or six of these “Satans” as they are known by the US military, and the East Coast of the United States disappears.
Russia had a victory for Syria and democracy in its hands, but Putin lacked the decisiveness of a Napoleon or a Stalin and let his victory slip away as a result of false hopes that Washington could be trusted. Now a Russian/Syrian victory would require driving the Turks and Americans out of Syria.
If Russia struck hard and fast, Russia could succeed by using Washington’s lie and claiming that Russia thought the US and Turkish forces were ISIS, just as Washington claimed when Washington intentionally struck a known Syrian Army position.
If Russia actually annihilated the Turkish and US force, which Russia could easily do, NATO would collapse, because no European country wants to be destroyed in World War 3. But Russia won’t collapse NATO by decisive action. The Russians won’t fight until war is absolutely and totally forced upon them. Then they will pay a huge price for their indecisiveness rooted in their foolish belief that Russia has common grounds with Washington. The only common grounds Russia has with Washington requires Russia’s surrender. If Russia will surrender, Russia can achieve Western acceptance, and Washington’s agents, the Russian Atlanticist Integrationists, can rule Russia for Washington.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts‘ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.