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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf
Syria - The Aid Convoy
Attack Points To Further Escalation
By Moon Of Alabama
September 22, 2016 "Information
show-down over the damaged aid convoy west
of Aleppo is reaching comedy level.
came from the government held
west-Aleppo. It had reached a Syrian Red
Crescent center in Umm al Kubra in the
"rebel" held area further west where it
started to unload. Something happened and
many of the trucks burned or where otherwise
damaged. Allegedly some 20 people were
killed. The incident happened shortly after
the ceasefire had officially expired. U.S.
sponsored "White Helmet" propaganda teams
where there when or shortly after the
Here are various claims that were made about
the incident (I am time restricted and will
for now not provide links for each of
U.S. and its allies claim that the convoy
was bombed in an air attack. The Russians
deny that they or the Syrians executed any
"rebels" had various version. Syrian jets
AND helicopters did it; "Barrel bombs" were
used; a sustained attack over hours ...
U.S. Secretary of State first claimed that
the Syrian did it, than that the Russians
did it; helicopters had attacked. The
Pentagon then came up with two Russian SU-24
fixed wing aircraft as the culprits. But the
U.S. then claimed that the attack went on
over two hours which is longer than a pair
of SU-24 could sustain.
Russians said neither they nor the Syrians
attacked. They alleged that "rebels"
attacked the convoy; that there had been no
bombs, only damage from fire.
pictures of some trucks show damage that is
mostly from fire, but there also seem to
have been some explosions and shrapnel
impacts though no big direct hits. For me
that leaves both possibilities open - an air
or artillery attack or a simple local
don't know what really happened.
independent from what happened is the
question of motive.
would the Syrian Air Force attack the Syrian
Red Crescent with which it has good
relations and which also works in all
government held areas? Why would the Syrian
or Russian forces attack a convoy which
earlier had passed through government held
areas and checkpoints and was thereby not
carrying contraband? I find no plausible
reason or motive for such an attack. Nor has
anyone else come forward with such.
few days ago the "rebels" had accused the
UN, which had goods on the convoy, of
partisanship and said they would boycott it.
"Rebels" in east Aleppo had demonstrated
against UN provided help and said they would
reject it. There was a general rejection of
the ceasefire by the "rebels" and they were
eager to push for a wider and bigger war
against Syria and its allies. Al-Qaeda in
Syria even made
a video against the ceasefire. A part of
the ceasefire deal is to commonly fight
al-Qaeda. They naturally want the deal to
end. The attack on the aid convoy seems to
help their case.
motive argument makes an attack by the
"rebels" plausible and an attack by Syria
and its allies implausible.
Kerry spoke at the UN today and performed
some funny stunts that had the silly purpose
of blaming Russia.
said that Jabhat al-Nusra and Jund al-Aqsa
are al-Qaeda and U.S. enemies and must be
fought. He did not explain why the U.S. -for
the last five years- provided al-Qaeda with
weapons and munitions (via its sponsored
"rebels"). He did not explain why the U.S.
so far did not do anything about al-Qaeda in
Syria. He did not explain why the U.S. did
not order and forced its proxy "rebels" to
distance themselves from al-Qaeda as it had
promised at the begin of the ceasefire.
Kerry then demanded a no fly zone over
north-west Syria to prevent attacks on aid
convoys. The whole UN erupted in laughter
(silently). Surely he would love that. His
"rebels" could then rearm, regroup and
openly prepare for new attacks as they did
under the first ceasefire in February. No,
Russia and Syria will not again agree to
that, nor will the UN Security Council. The
demand was a lame joke.
the gloves are coming off. The
Syrian/Russian side is convinced that the
U.S. willfully attacked Syrian forces in
Deir Ezzor to hand the city to ISIS. The
"rebel"/U.S. side (or their relevant public)
will convince itself (despite lack of
evidence) that the Syrian/Russian side is
willfully attacking hospitals and
humanitarian convoys. The words in front of
the UN got markedly sharper.
am afraid that we will soon see another
serious escalation of the conflict. An
incident between U.S. and Russian planes or
something like that. This is playing with
fire in a room full of dynamite.
This show is no longer about Syria. The
conflict is now part of the U.S. election
campaign. It is also about some very stupid
need of some adolescent nations to prove to
the world that their balls are the biggest.
Stupid and deadly nonsense that will kill
many bystanders and solve nothing.