Peace at a Price

In the past couple of months, almost miraculously, the American President, Donald Trump (not known as the greatest diplomat), managed to do what has eluded others for many years. He convinced Arab States to enter into peace and normalization agreements with Israel. The fact that the States that at this point have made that step, are rather far away from Israel and no enemy activities between them and Israel ever took place, must be noted, but these states did (and do) support the Palestinian cause, had strong influence in the Arab League (through their oil riches) and often actively voiced animosity towards Israel. Other States currently in line (and according to Trump there are many) include Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, with the latter having actively supported both terror organizations working against Israel and Israel’s biggest enemy, Iran.

So what brought this about? Are the Arabs really weary of war and enmity and they were just waiting for the right man (Trump) to push them to make the crucial step? Or do they still stand behind the cause of the Palestinians, and demand and will demand concessions from Israel regarding this decades long conflict? Of course, the UAE proudly announced that with the Peace Accords, they prevented the Annexation by Israel of the Occupied Territories in the West Bank (which shows that they really do not know very well how Israel works) and others will likely have similar demands that may be hard to swallow for Israel at this point, but easy to ignore once accords have been signed.

The real reason this “Peace” process has been accelerated is coming to light in phases but it is already clear and obvious, that Trump did not have neither peace nor Israel in mind when he embarked on this endeavor. The businessman that he is, he saw only one thing: money.

Immediately after the agreement between Israel and the UAE became public, reports popped up that the Emirates had demanded, and will receive the F-35, the most advanced military aircraft currently produced by the United States. Netanyahu denied it was part of the deal, but maybe indeed he was just as surprised as the rest of us, that the U.S. (or should we say Israel?) would relinquish the “Qualitative Military Edge” of its most important ally in the Middle East. This QME is currently being debated in the U.S. Congress).

Immediately following the UAE, also the names of Qatar and Saudi Arabia popped up as being in line to receive the F-35 as well. While it is still unclear how many planes these countries would want it is safe to assume we are talking one to two hundred fighters. With a cost per plane of around 100 million dollars, we are talking ten to twenty billion dollars. A very nice business deal indeed!

And you need to add to that the additional military equipment that the UAE wants, including sophisticated drones at a cost of 2.9 billion dollars, and eighteen Growler electronic warfare jets, at a cost of over a billion dollars.

When concerned voices were raised both in Jerusalem and in Washington about Israel’s Military edge, two trips of Defense Minister Gantz to the U.S. and one visit to Israel of his American counterpart apparently sufficed to come to a solution for this problem: Israel would be allowed to purchase the F-22, a sophisticated Stealth fighter that until now the Americans did not allow to be sold to any foreign country. The F-22, which is estimated to have a price tag of over two hundred million dollars per plane, is no longer in production but its contractor, Lockheed, will only be too happy to revive it and earn the additional income.

The amount of rumors going around in both the Western and Arab press about other deals being considered, make it clear: The Middle East may be entering a new phase, whereby peace agreements are signed that trigger what many would consider to be the opposite: An Accelerated Arms Race.

And the only one really benefiting from it will be the United States and its military establishment, from the Armed forces to the “Defense” Industries.  The Armed forces will have a “Real-Life” arena where their new toys may be tested in actual military situations, its flaws corrected and its limitations stretched without the spilling of American blood.  And the Military Industries will have orders for years to come, providing employment to American workers and profits for American moguls.

Peace is an important and lofty goal. But if it is bought with the weapons the next war will be fought with, its benefits become questionable.

But money makes the world go round. And Trump makes it spin.  

I hope you found this article interesting and I welcome any comments you may have.

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