Military tech to Israel on hold?

Is America Abandoning Israel?!

Euphoric Reality notes this story in Middle East Newsline:


TEL AVIV [MENL] — The Bush administration has blocked arms and technology transfers to Israel.

Israeli and U.S. sources said the State Department has blocked the transfer of weapons and technology to the Jewish state over the last three months. The sources said the halt reflected deteriorating relations between the two countries since the end of the war in Lebanon in August 2006.

“Nobody will say openly that there is a problem,” a government source said. “But there is a serious problem that reflects the marginalization of Israel in U.S. strategy.”

The unofficial suspension of U.S. arms deliveries began in late September, the sources said. They said the suspension halted the airlift of air-to-ground and other munitions conducted during and immediately after the Israeli war with Hizbullah.

Israpundit notes that one of the unnamed sources for this story says we’re trying to appease Saudi Arabia. This seems like a bit of stretch, but a lot of our Saudi policy seems a bit odd, so it cannot be discounted.

Another obvious theory is that the US is unhappy with Israel’s prosecution of the war against Hezbollah this past summer. But the US played a leading role in the cease-fire that ended (well, as ‘ended’ as it will ever be) that conflict, so to claim that we’re now punishing Israel for not finishing off Hezbollah’s fighting force seems like a bit of a stretch. But a lot of our Hezbollah/Hamas/Syria/Palestinian policy seems a bit odd, so it cannot be discounted.

Both of these uncertainties stem from the uncertain public face of our respective policies, and that is our own fault.

Let’s not forget, though, that there are often technology transfer issues with our other close allies, as well. For instance, the spat with the British and Australians over F-35 Joint Strike Fighter technology is still not totally resolved, and a potential stumbling block to Japan’s wish to buy F-22 Raptors is the issue of that fighter’s sensitive technology. So hold-ups due to reviews of technology transfers aren’t uncommon.

This wouldn’t really apply to the JDAMs mentioned in the article, as these units aren’t nearly as secret and sensitive as the technology in the F-22 or F-35. But the “cutting-edge” rule would apply to the Skyguard missile-defense laser, also mentioned.

Also, don’t miss Israel breaks promise to U.S. with settlement: West Bank housing for settlers ousted from Gaza approved despite pledge. For a short time last summer I thought that US and Israeli strategies were aligned, but it didn’t last.

Finally, the ladies at Euphoric Reality had a special episode of their The Front Line show on this story last night. Cale Hahn, an independent columnist and former journalist and Steve Schippert of ThreatsWatch made appearances. I’m listening right now.