Monday, May 3, 2010

Obama Administration Continues to Supply Israel with Advanced Weapons

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By Barry Rubin

I have repeatedly pointed out that as of now the Obama Administration has never put any material pressure on Israel. There are wild rumors and irresponsible materials floating around to the contrary. They aren’t true.

As proof, for example, take the article by Barbara Opall-Rome in Defense News, May 3, 2010, “U.S. Backs Israeli Munitions Upgrades.” She writes of “ever-expanding bilateral security ties unharmed by the unusually high-profile political rift” that took place temporarily.

In fact, the United States is equipping Israel with GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs for its F-15I fighter-bombers and this will be followed by the same system on F-16I planes. These 250-pound bombs are called bunker busters because they are smart bombs that will go through more than six feet of reinforced concrete.

In addition, Israel has equipped F-15Is to carry the 5,000-pound-class GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrator, designed to burrow 100 feet into earth or 20 feet into concrete.

The Israel Air Force is also receiving the Laser-Guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (LJDAM), developed by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems and Israel's Elbit Systems and able to direct smart bombs more accurately.

To put it bluntly, GBU-39s can be used against simpler installations like arms-smuggling tunnels dug by Hamas between Egypt and the Gaza Strip along with Hizballah field fortifications.

The GBU-28s could be fired at stronger Hizballah installations. They could also be used on Iranian nuclear weapons or missile installations some day. Clearly, the U.S. government is neither urging nor advocating such an action and may never do so. But it has not blocked the possibility in terms of weaponry either.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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