10 Billion Dollars of US Weapons on Their Way to the Middle East

25 April 2013 | 13:28 Code : 1915370 Interview General category
An interview with Hossein Alaei, an expert on strategic affairs
10 Billion Dollars of US Weapons on Their Way to the Middle East


How would you assess the history of the sale of US arms to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates? What is the US’ objective behind arming its Arab and Israeli allies?

During the past 40 years, the US has provided all kinds of military weapons to the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia. Also within the last ten years, this country has been one of the most significant arms-selling countries, especially jet fighters to the United Arab Emirates. On the other hand, the US feels committed to maintain the survival and security of Israel, thus, it has equipped the Zionist regime with the most advanced war weapons, including nuclear warheads. But the selling of arms under the present conditions is the result of the missions planned by the US for Israel and the Arab countries in the Middle East. In the present situation, Israel attempts to obtain jets and armaments to fight against Iran’s nuclear program. Giving these arms under these conditions is aimed more at the empowerment of Israel in case of a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities so that the Islamic Republic of Iran would always be concerned about an Israeli attack against its nuclear centers, hence, Iran’s expenses to pursue peaceful nuclear activities would be increased.

It is said that Iran’s containment is the main objective behind the US’ new arms contracts. Then why doesn’t Israel protest against the selling of arms to Arab countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, weakening Iran’s power has always been on the US agenda. Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran on behalf of the Arab countries was welcomed by the US. The US has attempted to show the Islamic Republic of Iran as a threat against the Arab countries, particularly the Persian Gulf littoral states. On the other hand, during the past few years, the US, with the excuse of peace negotiations between the Arabs and Israel, has attempted to bring the Arab countries closer to Israel so that it would be able to execute its own plans in the Middle East. Giving war weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE can be interpreted in this regard, for these weapons are sold to these countries with Israel’s agreement. Therefore, Israel is assured that these weapons will never be used against Israel and will not be a threat against it. It must be noted that the sale of different types of military planes to the Arab countries will make them more dependent upon US policies and encourage them to cooperate with Israel.

Under conditions when some Israeli officials are still talking about a military attack against Iran and even the possibility of resorting to the military option by themselves and without the US’ help, is equipping Israel a green light given by the US for a military attack against Iran?

Israel will never attack Iran without the US’ permission and help. Talking about a military attack is one of the US’ plans to increase pressure on Iran, and Israel is playing this role. These days, Chuck Hagel, the new US Secretary of Defense, is visiting Israel and some Arab countries to finalize the sale of 10 billion dollars worth of weapons to them. The US has always supported Israel in its military operations. It must be noted that whenever Israel’s evaluation with regard to an air strike against Iran’s nuclear installations is positive, it will attack Iran and under such conditions the US administration will support Israel’s actions. If the US does not strengthen Israel’s military power, Israel will never be able to launch a military attack against different targets. But right now more important than the US’ green light to attack the Islamic Republic of Iran is the psychological impacts of selling new war equipments to Israel so that Iran will always remain worried.

The new members of the Obama cabinet in his second term have, several times, been the guests of the Middle East. For example, John Kerry has visited this region and Chuck Hagel is currently visiting the Middle East. Has the political and military strategy of the US in the region changed in Obama’s second term?

At the present time, the Middle East is one of the most volatile regions of the world wherein numerous conflicts are happening. The attempts made by the US and some Arab countries to overthrow Bashar Assad during the past two years have directed the US’ attention towards Syria’s neighboring countries. It seems that right now all efforts made by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are concentrated on making changes in Syria so that they can weaken Iran’s footsteps in Israel’s surroundings and increase Israel’s security. It is on this basis that meetings of Syria’s opposition are regularly held in Turkey and Qatar and the US is increasing its financial aid to the armed opposition of the Syrian government. The announcement of 100 million dollars worth of new aid to Bashar Assad’s opponents, along with the huge sums given by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are all indicative of huge investments made by the US to bring a government into power in Syria which is in line with its aims. It is in fact the foreign powers which are determining the fate of the Syrian people instead of the people who could choose their government in a peaceful way and change the authoritarian regime. Therefore, the visits made by the US officials to the Middle East are more meaningful with regard to this issue.

Some news agencies state that the situation in Syria and Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons are the reasons for the sale of new arms to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Do you agree with this assessment?

The mission of the planes given to Israel and the Arab countries is not to fight against the chemical weapons. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are far from Syria and can never be engaged in a military intervention in Syria. They are exerting pressure on the government of Syria by helping al-Qaeda and other armed Syrian opposition, like the al-Nusra Front and they don’t need to use any planes. But the US prefers for Israel not to make any move under the present situation in Syria so that anti-Israeli sentiments would not be spread in the Arab countries. Hence, Israel will wait for the money spent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey and the US measures in Syria to reach a result. On the other hand, even if Syria attacks Israel with chemical weapons, which seems impossible, the new weaponries are not designed to fight against chemical weapons.

How will the military arrangement of the big powers in the region change considering these new weapons? Will the other Arab countries or Iran attempt to get involved in an arms race with these three countries of the region?

For years there has been an arms race going on in the Middle East and different weapons are regularly being deployed in the Arab countries and Turkey. The deployment of Patriot missiles, which is done within the Missile Shield plan, is aimed at creating a counterattack belt to reduce Iran’s deterrence power. By giving advanced military planes to Israel and Arab countries, the US intends to give absolute air superiority to these countries in confrontation with Iran and to downgrade Iran’s air power. Nevertheless, the present trend is very destructive for the people of the Middle East and will threaten the security of the region.

tags: israel arab iran syria arms nuclear middle east saudi arabia US

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