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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy


Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing the amounts provided to any other state.  It has been the largest annual recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest total recipient since World War II.  Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. [2]

Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one‐fifth of America’s foreign aid budget.  In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. [3]

This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to South Korea or Spain. [4] Israel also gets other special deals from Washington. [5]

Other aid recipients get their money in quarterly instalments, but Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and thus earns extra interest.  Most recipients of American military assistance are required to spend all of it in the United States, but Israel can use roughly twenty‐five percent of its aid allotment to subsidize its own defense industry.  Israel is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, an exemption that makes it virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the United States opposes, like building settlements in the West Bank.

Moreover, the United States has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems like the Lavi aircraft that the Pentagon did not want or need, while giving Israel access to top‐drawer U.S. weaponry like Blackhawk helicopters and F‐16 jets.  Finally, the United States gives Israel access to 2intelligence that it denies its NATO allies and has turned a blind eye towards Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. [6]


[2] According to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) “Greenbook,” which reports “overseas loans and grants,” Israel has received $140,142,800 (in constant 2003 dollars) from the United States through 2003. Downloaded from the “Greenbook” web site [] on November 8, 2005.

[3] According to the “Greenbook,” Israel received about $3.7 billion in direct aid from the United States in 2003. Israel’s population according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies [IISS] and the CIA is 6,276,883. IISS, The Military Balance: 2005‐2006 (Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2005), p. 192;  
That averages out to $589 per Israeli. If one assumes the same population size and $3 billion in total aid, then each Israeli receives $478.

[4] See; World Bank Atlas (Washington, DC: Development Data Group, World Bank, September 2004), pp. 64‐65.

[5] For a discussion of the various special deals that Israel receives, see Clyde R. Mark, “Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance,” Issue Brief for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, April 26, 2005).  

[6] Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999); Seymour M. Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (New York: Random House, 1991).


Saturday, March 19, 2011

So much for Revolution?

2011 has been a year of revolutionary change in the Middle East. First, with the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, then of Ben Ali in Tunisia. Following them, protests in Algeria, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain... it has many people asking: which country is next?

Today, March 19th, 2011, the US and its allies have declared war on Libya. This is 8 years after the US-led invasion of Iraq. Coincidence? Their excuse for doing so is only an echo of that in Iraq and Afghanistan.. "to protect the people from their tyrant leader". But is it really? If that really were the case, then wouldn't, or rather shouldn't, the US and it's allies come to the aid and assistance of the Palestinians being under the tyrant rule of apartheid Israel? Of course it's not.

It is now feared that the "revolution" so desired in Libya, may now just be the beginning of much unwanted bloodshed.

The real reason for this infringement of Libyan sovereignty is of course... oil. The same reason for the Iraq invasion. The revolution by the people is been undermined by this invasion. Without a doubt, the US and it's allies are not interested in helping the Libyan people at all. Their only interests are greed and the need for some control in the Middle East.

This invasion should be a strong wake up call for people in the Middle East. If the US continues on invading, thinking that its decisions will remain uncontested, let the people prove it wrong. Power belongs to the people and only they should decide how their country should be run, and NOT by foreign invasion.

May Allah help the people of Libya during this time of crisis, and 8 years later, may the people of Iraq regain their honour and glory. May Allah help all the oppressed peoples around the world. Ameen ya Rabb.

Monday, March 14, 2011

So-called "War on Terror"

 Since the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the country has embarked on a so-called war on terrorism. The so-called war on terrorism has used the pretext of responding to terrorist attacks in the U.S. in September 2001 to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have objectives other than stamping out terrorism. The war requires a moral justification that cannot be provided for either the war in Afghanistan or the war in Iraq.

The ongoing war in Afghanistan was and is unjust because it simply lumps together those who may have attacked the U.S. with those who clearly did not do so and hence should not have been attacked in return.

There is no reason to think that the U.S. was attacked by Afghanistan.

The U.S. attacked Afghanistan in response to an attack attributed to a terrorist group called Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden in a war that is still continuing. Everything about this attack is doubtful. It has still not been shown that a mad Saudi was able from a cave in Afghanistan to coordinate a large-scale attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. If we assume for the purposes of argument that he did, then we have to ask if the attack on Afghanistan in general is justified. I believe it is not, since we cannot equate Afghanistan as a whole with whatever Al Qaeda is supposedly responsible for. There is no right to harm, much less to destroy, anyone other than those who attacked the U.S., including through what is euphemistically called collateral damage. Is the life of an Afghan worth less than that of an American?

Since the outbreak of the war in Afghanistan, everything has been happening as if the so-called war on terrorism has less and less to do with terrorism and serves increasingly as a convenient pretext for American imperialist ambitions.

Some minimal conditions that must be met for a just war on terrorism are that the war be wholly or at least primarily directed against terrorism and not undertaken for other ends, that it be waged in defense against the attackers, not against others, that the war take place on grounds which can be rationally justified, and that terrorism be correctly identified. What is routinely called the war on terrorism has so far been a manifest failure. 

First, it has been mainly directed against those who did not attack the U.S. 

Second, it has increasingly not been directed against terrorists at all, unless anyone the U.S. government does not like can fairly be called a terrorist. 

Third, it has so far failed to find an adequate justification, a reason or set of reasons that could justify the type of war that is being waged. 

Fourth, it has conflated the response to terrorism with a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. 

And, fifth, it has failed to provide a plausible account of the sources of, or even correctly to identify, terrorism.

This unjustified war, which simply cannot be won as it is currently conceived, only demonstrates the weakness of the U.S. and its allies in their inability to resolve the very problems that give rise to terrorism.

Source: Rockmore, T. On the So-Called War on Terrorism