(JNS.org) U.S. Secretary of State
Chuck Hagel has announced a massive new arms deal with Israel and two Arab
nations, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Chuck Hagel in Iraq. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Hagel, who is currently in Israel as part of a
weeklong trip to the Middle East, said that the $10 billion arms deal sends a
clear signal to Iran.
“The bottom line is
that Iran is a threat, a real threat,” Hagel said, Reuters reported. “The Iranians must be prevented from developing
that capacity to build a nuclear weapon and deliver it.”
The deal to Israel
includes the sale of KC-135 aerial refueling planes, new missiles for fighter
aircraft and V-22 Osprey transport planes.
The deal, while
boosting key Arab allies in the region, also maintains Israel’s military
superiority in the region.
“This not only
sustains but augments Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region,” a U.S.
official told Reuters.
Hagel, who came
under intense scrutiny after being nominated for Secretary of Defense over his
positions on Israel and Iran and was confirmed in a historically close 58-41
Senate vote, sought to put the controversy behind him on the Middle East trip.
Hagel said that there is “no daylight at all” between the U.S. and Israel on
Iran and that Israel would decide for itself whether to take a pre-emptive
strike on Iran. His first visit upon arrival in Israel was to the Yad Vashem