Beyond the Cusp

December 22, 2013

Time for Israel to Diversify her Relations in the World

After World War II the United States took steps to assure that they would be the leader of the Western World and the sole defender of Democracy. They freed the European countries from retaining large militaries probably hoping to avoid another European driven conflagration that would drag the United States into the conflict before it ended much as the two world wars had done. They even went so far as to almost completely neuter the British Navy to where they had to overcome difficulties in the 1980s to field a force to the Falkland Islands to rescue them from an Argentine attempted takeover. This arrangement worked well for quite some time especially as the United States had to remain militarily powerful as a balance against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Eventually, Israel came to depend on the United States as well, though not immediately or as early in her history as many tend to believe. The Israelis largely depended on a combination of Europeans and for a while at the start from the Soviet Union who saw Israel as a socialist ally and fellow traveler initially. The Soviet Union drifted off and sided with the Arabs who forced them to choose one side and as the Arabs had more natural resources and offered a seemingly better dependence and patronage than the Israelis as well as a much larger market for Soviet weaponry.

 

The United States led the charge after the 1956 War between Israel and Egypt over the closure of the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to Israeli shipping as well as European shipping through the Suez Canal. Technically speaking, the Israelis were invited to join with the British and French in the war with Egypt after President Nasser closed the Canal to Western shipping, something Britain and France could not live without or their markets in Asia would have become unprofitable. The British and French were supposed to attack Egypt concurrent with the Israeli attack but only Israel offensive ever came to fruition. The British and French got their reopened Suez Canal and the Israelis got their reopened port using the Red Sea at Eilat and control of the Sinai Peninsula. This was the first time that Israel held the entire Sinai Peninsula after a war with Egypt. The United States along with Israel’s so-called allies in the war, Britain and France, all joined the United Nations Security Council in demanding that Israel return every inch of the lands won, which she did without much fuss. It was not until after the Six Day War where Israel responded to the threats and massed troops on her northern and southern borders, open threats of genocidal annihilation, and the closing once again of the Straits of Tihran closing off Israeli access to Asia which after the 1956 War had been declared a casus belli for war by Egypt. Once again the Israelis, using almost the exact same battle plan, took control of the Sinai Peninsula along with the Golan Heights and after Jordan joined the attack on the second day believing the Egyptian and Syrian claims of massive victories and disbelieving Israeli requests that they not make a disastrous mistake on erroneous propaganda, Israel also took control of Judea and Samaria and all the land occupied by Jordan since the 1948 War which cemented Israeli independence. President Johnson ordered the Pentagon to assess the Israeli military capabilities and after reading the impressive report decided that Israel would make a suitable ally for the United States to balance the Soviet Union leaning Arab states.

 

Even this was not the final cementing of what has become Israeli semi-dependence on the United States for armaments and equipment parts. That came when Israel had designed their own fourth generation fighter Jet named the Lavi which many thought would compare favorably with the United States F-16. This was viewed as a potential threat to the United States almost unique ownership of fighter jet sales so the United States made an irresistible offer to Israel of supplying F-16s and F-15s with Israeli modifications and full support at a far lower price than it would have cost Israel to produce the Lavi themselves. This led over the years to the United States slowly Americanizing much of the IDF equipment including replacing indigenous weapons systems such as rifles, grenades and numerous other pieces with United States built replacements to where Israel slowly became dependent on the United States for parts and support of much IDF equipment. Israel did not, as many argue, come supplicant to the door of the United States asking for American weapon systems which is partly why the Israeli Defense Force does not field the M1A1 Abrams heavy battle tank and instead uses the very capable Merkava MKIV and MKV heavy battle tanks. Not having relied on in-house weapons systems development and domestic manufacture may end up proving very costly for Israel with an antagonistic President in the White House. Let us hope that Israel will not end up paying too high a price learning that there is no such thing as friends between nations, just temporary relations for as long as mutual benefit and convenience dictate.

 

Israel is facing a threat which nobody speaks of but might be heard in the whispers if you possess a trained ear and know where to listen closest. Dependence on the United States for weapons systems, especially fighter aircraft, may be the Achilles Heel of the IDF. If the United States were to stop supplying replacement parts and maintenance for the fleets of F-16I and F-15I fighters that make up the Israeli Air Force and also cancel the planned shipments of F-35 Strike Fighters scheduled for the next two years, Israel would be behind the eight ball and needing to design or find a replacement fifth generation fighter close to overnight in order to maintain sufficient air suppression superiority. That is why the Merkava Main Battle Tanks are a blessing in so many ways as it is a fully capable modern main battle tank comparable to any other currently fielded or in production and the older models have been repurposed as personnel carriers and armored field ambulances thus providing systems necessary for the type of warfare Israel may face and supplying superior defenses when compared to other systems used by other nations, especially the armored field ambulances. Should there come an irreconcilable difference between Israel and President Obama and his Administration over possibly Israeli refusal to accept an interim deal with the Palestinians or after Israel strikes known vital Iranian nuclear sites to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons breakout and President Obama decides to break relations with Israel in protest placing military sanctions upon the Israelis, then Israel would be facing a severe challenge simply to keep her Air Force functioning without replacement parts. The emergency such a predicament would present is beyond definition or explanation, it is simply unimaginable. The bright side is Israel, providing she survived long enough to produce replacement systems indigenously, will have learned a basic and vital lesson, never place all your eggs, especially if those eggs protect your nation, in one basket. The United States under the leadership of President Obama has made one thing evidently clear, the nations who thought that the United States was completely reliable and beyond being turned on its head by a single person, even the President, is a false belief and could prove to be fatal to those holding to that premise. The Obama Presidency has hopefully taught the Israelis a basic and vital lesson, never rely totally for your defense on any single nation, spread your vulnerabilities around even at the cost of efficiency as one can efficiency themselves out of existence. There is no such entity as an ally who will never let you down or fail you when you most need them, and that must be part of all military planning. Next time somebody offers Israel a sweet deal and promises to always be there, let us hope that Israel will not act like a school girl with a crush and believe such a story. The only friend who will never desert you is your own in-country production of vital defense systems. Oh, and on another note, they also make for a great trade item once you build the next and better system to replace them. Don’t worry, there will still be nations where you now discarded weapons are an improvement.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

2 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

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    Comment by OyiaBrown — December 22, 2013 @ 9:31 AM | Reply

  2. […] as we used that same terminology, “Achilles Heel of the IDF” in our December 22, 2013 article Time for Israel to Diversify her Relations in the World particularly referencing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter specifically and all other armaments as […]

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    Pingback by What Israel Must Learn from President Obama | Beyond the Cusp — February 13, 2016 @ 3:13 AM | Reply


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