(The Defensetech blog has an article about the proposed sale of 84 F-15s to Saudi-Arabia and Israel's reaction, based on a WashPost interview with Israel's secretary of defence. The interpretation of that interview by DT author Greg Grant is one of many possible interpretations of what Barak said.)
My first thought when I saw this
headline at the DT blog was "Wow, that would be brazen".
I am, of course, accustomed to the idea that a sovereign nation doesn't need the permission of another nation for such a decision.
The article body has more to offer, though. This
In an interview with the Washington Post last week, Barak evoked Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME), suggesting that Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of dozens of brand new F-15 fighters could tilt the regional military balance.
repeats what I read elsewhere. Again, I was a bit irritated that there's actually an acronym worth to mention for this - "QME". That's the only acronym for a foreign nation's national security strategy that I recall at the moment (IRATM).
It's also a bit irritating to see how the "qualitative edge" gets associated with hardware only. Weren't the Israelis supposed to be super pilots, the Israeli industry to be good with EW equipment and Arabs supposed to suck at warmaking in general?
Aren't these supposed F-15 sales simply replacements for worn-out 1980's F-15's of Desert Storm fame?
Quoteworthy material kept coming:
Israel isn’t in a position to dictate who the U.S. sells advanced weaponry to, Barak said; although it really is. If Israel so desires, it can mobilize its powerful allies in Congress to hold up arms sales to Arab nations, especially when it’s something as big as the sale of 84 F-15s.
I guess it'll take a few more years till I can understand how a nation which perceives itself as the sole superpower can treat an issue like this as normal. Another government has decisive influence on your legislative (government?) in regard to specific bills?
Granted, that's not really news in this case. Nevertheless, it's an astonishing tail-wags-dog stunt. The tail isn't even connected to the dog, but thousands of miles apart!
It sure sounds like Israel wants some kind of technology transfer in the deal.
This is also ranging from noteworthy to brazen, considering how often I've heard and read complaints from Americans about how willingly Israel supposedly transferred military high tech to the PR China.
There are surely hundreds of mosaic pieces in the full story and to put
them all together and to filter misinformation out would require a huge effort. The picture as it shows itself in the recent reports (and earlier ones) is nevertheless a quite irritating one.
The greatest human strength and weakness at once is the ability to get used to almost everything. This is such a case where I can only shake my head and turn away, assuming that a couple hundred million people are already used to the documented behaviour and many of them don't see anything disturbing in it.
Israel seems to make great profit in its "special relationship" with the U.S. - unlike the UK. Maybe the Brits should ask Israel for a lesson? Spending blood side-by-side with U.S. G.I.s doesn't seem to buy nearly as much influence on U.S. policy as a few million $ lobbyism money. You might even get the spent money back - hundredfold!
P.S.: Maybe Israel has a similar special relationship with Germany, but that's for sure more sporadic, less institutionalised and less brazen. Germans are used to allow others to influence German legislation - in a multialteral cooperation called the EU that gives us the ability to influence their legislation as well. An open statement from another government that implies the ability to decisively influence a Bundestag voting is as far as I can tell well above the scandal threshold in Germany.