"Defense News" reports that Israel has asked the Obama administration
to increase US annual defense aid. Representatives of the two countries have
begun initial talks on a new ten-year aid package, which will come into effect
when the current program ends in 2017. The Israeli request is not only due to
Israel's growing defense needs, but also to keep Israel's qualitative edge,
which has eroded following US sales of advanced arms to Arab countries in the
past few years.
"In interviews here, US and Israeli officials said initial work toward a new 10-year military aid package, which would extend through 2027, is focusing on a full spectrum of Israeli concerns, including military modernization needs, new threats from regional instability and the erosion of Israel's so-called qualitative military edge due to US arms sales in the Mideast," "Defense News" writes, adding "Under the existing US $30 billion aid agreement signed in 2007, negotiators from both sides did not specifically address or attempt to calculate Israel's QME security concerns in annual foreign military financing levels prescribed by the 10-year package."
"Defense News" quotes sources as saying that those concerns, supported by US commitments to preserve Israel's edge over regional adversaries, were dealt with in separate bilateral forums, with significant input by key congressional committees charged with reviewing the regional impact of proposed sales.
"Defense News" cites a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that states that agreements with Arab countries totaled $91 million in 2008-11. They include the sale of new and upgraded F-15 fighters and dozens of Apache gunships and UH-60M Black Hawks to Saudi Arabia; Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system firing units and CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the United Arab Emirates; F-16 fighters to Egypt, Iraq, and Oman; and co-production of M1A1 tanks to Egypt. (The agreements with Egypt may be cancelled due to the military confrontation between the Egyptian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood).
(c)2013 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Visit the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel) at www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/nodeview.asp?fid=942
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