Is There No Other Policy But a Failed One?

Old wine in new bottles.

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Dr. Steve Carol,

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The recent announcement of a planned $20 billion sale by the United States to Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates - and the new, US three-line deployment strategy, is being discussed and questioned globally.

In all three cases, the policy failed.

Once again, we are witnessing the repackaging of old wine in new bottles, except that this time the wine is vinegar. Major components of the proposed sale and strategy have been tried before by the US and failed.

In 1970, as part of the "Nixon Doctrine," the United States introduced the concept of relying on "regional influentials" to safeguard American interests in the wide area of the Middle East. Assigned to this role was Iran under the Shah, whose task was to protect the Persian Gulf region. Second was Israel, which was to watch over the eastern Mediterranean area and the Suez Canal. The third was Ethiopia under Emperor Haile Selassie, who was assigned the task of safeguarding the southern approaches to the Red Sea. Arms aid was given to all three nations.

In all three cases, the policy failed. The Shah faced unrest that resulted in a revolution that toppled the pro-American Pahlavi dynasty in 1978-1979. All of the American military equipment, much of it top of the line at the time, fell into the hands of the Islamic Republic. Israel suffered the shock of military setbacks and subsequent diplomatic reversals that were the immediately result of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Ethiopia faced civil war, drought and revolution that swept from power the imperial monarchy, and replaced it with a Marxist regime. Again, American aid fell into the hands of that anti-Western regime.

The policy of relying on "regional influentials" did not work in the 1970s. It will not work now. Saudi Arabia has but one goal, first and foremost, to preserve the House of Saud. It will not be a "deputy US policeman" to block and, if necessary, combat Islamic Iran's air force, any more than the misguided US policy of hoping that the Palestinian Fatah organization will control militant Hamas.

To further complicate and make matters worse, the US will offer Egypt $13 billion as part of the arms package. The Egyptian armed forces, largely equipped with US-made weaponry thanks to US aid totaling over $70 billion since 1979, trains for a war against the named "enemy" - Israel. According to the Congressional Research Service, Egypt purchased $6.5 billion worth of foreign weapons in the years 2001-04, more than any other state in the Middle East. In contrast, the Israeli government bought only $4.4 billion worth during that period; and the Saudis, $3.8 billion.

If Egypt is at peace with Israel, what are all those weapons for? The answer to the question lies in Egyptian war doctrine, which still views Israel as Egypt's main, if not its only, enemy. In view of these facts, for what purpose does Egypt need an additional $13 billion to fund sophisticated top-of-the-line aircraft? Let one not forget that, despite the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the Arab League's 1948 declaration of war to liquidate the state of Israel remains in force. Egypt is a member of the Arab League and subscribes to its decisions.

If Egypt is at peace with Israel, what are all those weapons for?

In an attempt to resuscitate the failed policy, the US has added another failed strategy to the mix. As a sweetener for Israel (to swallow the bitter pill of a massive arms sale to the Arab states), and in order to get Congressional and Israeli approval for this pending deal, the US administration has promised Israel an additional $30 billion in military aid over a 10 year period. While Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quick to praise the 25% US military aid increase as an important boost to Israel's security, President George Bush indicated that he could not guarantee this aid level beyond 2009. So much for 10 years of increased aid.

Appeasement-minded Olmert added that President Bush had promised him that Israel's qualitative military edge in the region would be preserved. This may be wishful thinking on Olmert's part, since the US is now inclined to sell the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter-bomber to the Saudis, while only "considering" such a sale to Israel. In recent tests, an Israeli pilot using an F-22 engaged and defeated six F-15s in mock combat. The F-15 is the current top plane in the Israeli Air Force. Olmert, no doubt, is putting into practice Israeli President Shimon Peres' infamously quoted statement that "It's a great mistake to learn from history. There is nothing to learn from history." (Maariv, May 23, 1996)

The Israeli Prime Minister has forgotten and ignored his nation's history. In 1970, the United States and the Soviet Union brokered and guaranteed a ceasefire that ended the 1,000 day War of Attrition (1967-1970). The Soviets and the Egyptians broke the agreement on the very first night it went into effect. To pacify Israel, the US gave Israel more monetary aid and additional aircraft, much as it is promising now. The US move was costly to Israel. The Israeli Air Force witnessed 49 of its best planes shot out of the sky in the first two days of the Yom Kippur War. The additional American funds evaporated as the staggering costs of the war, both in life and expense, dramatically escalated. So, Israel has had the experience of an American "pay off" to acquiesce to an American-Arab arms deal.

Also of importance in the pending US-Saudi deal is a Saudi commitment to keep the new warplanes and missile systems away from Israel's borders. Don't hold your breath on that promise. A similar Saudi pledge offered in the 1990s for US F-15 warplanes was never
An Israeli pilot using an F-22... defeated six F-15s in mock combat.
kept, despite reminders from Washington. The planes were housed at Tabuk, close to the Jordanian border, Israel's Red Sea port of Eilat and its Negev bases. Ultimately, Israel informed Riyadh through Washington that Tabuk would not be immune from attack in a fresh all-out Middle East conflict.

All of this does not even begin to address the question of how good an ally Saudi Arabia is. The arms deal was promoted despite the fact that Saudi Arabia was unhelpful to the US in Iraq, opposed to US policy in dealing with the Palestinians, and was unable or unwilling to stop suicide bombers reaching Iraq.

Thus, the new proposed American arms sale to Saudi Arabia is fraught with peril. Is there no other policy the US Administration can pursue other than a failed one?

© Dr. Steve Carol

Dr. Steve Carol exposes how CNN's Christiane Amanpour manipulated her broadcast in order to demonize the Jews of Judea and Samaria. (www.middleeastradioforum.org)

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