Any optimism that the Iran nuclear deal might slow the momentum of weapons sales to the Middle East has already been strangled in the cradle. Consider the following news item, courtesy of FP: Foreign Policy:
While U.S. Defense Department officials make promises to partner with Middle East allies nervous about the Iranian missile threat in their backyard, U.S. defense contractors are rushing in to ink multiple billion dollar deals to fill the gap. On Wednesday, the State Department announced a pending $5.4 billion deal with Saudi Arabia for a 600 new PAC-3 Patriot missile interceptors, which will bring the Saudi missiles up to date with the latest version of the Patriot.
The massive deal follows an April agreement with Riyadh for $2 billion worth of Patriots, and another $1.5 billion sale, announced this month, for Patriot interceptors in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will produce the missiles.
That’s $9 billion in Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) sales, a coup indeed for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
At least the Patriot SAM is largely defensive in nature. One former Obama official has gone a quantum leap further in advocating that the U.S. supply B-52 bombers to Israel armed with special bunker-busting bombs. Here’s the gist of the story, courtesy of Defense News:
A former top adviser to US President Barack Obama is calling on Washington to provide bunker-busting B-52 bombers to Israel as a means of bolstering Israeli deterrence and the credibility of its so-called military option should Iran opt out of commitments codified in Tuesday’s deal with world powers.
“To have a credible military option, it’s not enough to say all options are on the table. We have to be much more blunt,” said Ambassador Dennis Ross, a longtime diplomat and former special adviser to Obama on Iran.
In an interview Thursday, Ross said he favors the transfer of an unspecified quantity of B-52 Stratofortress bombers outfitted to deliver 30,000-pound GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators as one of the means of shoring up deterrence vis a vis Iran.
Sure: Just what the Israelis need: a huge long-range strategic bomber, originally built in the 1950s to deter, and if necessary to attack, the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons. Perhaps an Israeli Major Kong can ride one of those bunker-busters right into the heartland of Iran.
We do indeed have a strange love for weaponry.