Israel demands its monetary “pound of flesh” for any US-Iran deal

It would seem that much of the Israeli objections to any US-Iran deal regarding Iran’s nuclear programme may be more of a negotiating ploy than driven by any real concern about their own security. Everything has its price and Israel also seems to have a price for swallowing their public objections. The price for acquiescing to any US-Iran deal seems to be the “purchase” of additional military aircraft and weapons systems from the US. Israel’s “purchases” of US equipment are paid for from moneys received as “US Defense Aid”. Currently Israel gets a recurring grant of around $4 billion every year augmented by many additional “one-off” grants.

From this Haaretz article it would seem that Israel has determined the monetary value of the “pound of flesh” it requires to swallow its objections to any US-Iran deal. Israel has not failed to note that “According to Stockholm’s International Peace Research Institute, in 2014 Saudi Arabia bought $80 billion worth of weapons while the emirates bought $23 billion worth of arms.” It stands to reason that Israel’s total “price” will be something in excess of $100 billion. The US will not have missed in their calculation either that this will “enable” fresh, real sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States of at least twice that amount.

Haaretz:

….. However, the Israeli defense establishment and the Pentagon have already begun preliminary contact on the type of defense package Israel would receive. Another incentive for these talks is the arms deals between the United States and the Gulf states, which have not waited for the final deal before acquiring defense systems designed to deter Iran. A well-placed source said that both countries have begun their “homework” ahead of such a deal. ….. 

The Israeli defense establishment estimates that the future weapons deal between Israel and the United States will include more F-35s. So far, the sides have agreed that Israel would buy 33 of these combat aircraft using U.S. defense aid. The first two planes are scheduled to arrive in late 2016. The first operational squadron of the planes will begin operations about two years later, with the last of the planes arriving in 2021. However the defense establishment believes this is not enough and hopes to acquire at least 50 of these fighter planes so the Israel Air Force will have two fully operational squadrons. Each plane in the current deal is priced at $110 million.

Another key component in any future arms deal with Washington will be an anti-missile system. So far Israel has acquired an Arrow 2 system to intercept long-range missiles and nine Iron Dome batteries against short-range missiles. Next year, the David’s Sling system for medium-range threats is slated to go into operation. All these systems were funded with American defense aid and the United States has invested about $1 billion in developing interception missiles, above and beyond the $3.1 billion annual aid.

Israel is also likely to request additional aid to finance an improved Arrow 3 battery and to acquire some more Iran Dome batteries. According to an analysis by the Knesset Foreign and Defense Committee from three year ago, which is also accepted by the army, Israel requires at least 12 or 13 batteries in order to effectively defend the country. Israel is also expected to ask the U.S. to allow it to buy advanced precision-guided munition, especially for the Air Force. The sides may also discuss the acquisition of technological systems for intelligence-gathering purposes. 

The defense industry in the US must be quite pleased.

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