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Israel Will ‘Act Alone’ Against Iran In Syria Warns Netanyahu

November 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Israel will stop at nothing to contain Iran, even if it means having to act alone.

Netanyahu accused Tehran of plotting to destroy Israel from Syria, where it has been helping fight terrorists at the invitation of the Syrian government.

Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday that Iran would not gain a foothold in Syria by which to attack Israel. He spoke via video to American Jewish leaders just hours after Russia clarified the it had no intention of pushing Tehran’s military forces out of the country.

RT reports: The Israeli leader further alleged that Iran, which serves as one of the guarantors of a ceasefire deal in Syria along with Russia and Turkey, wants to station its troops on the Syrian territory on a permanent basis “with the declared intent of using Syria as a base from which to destroy Israel.”

Netanyahu, who once branded the milestone nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers a “historic mistake” and a threat to Israeli survival, again lashed out at the universally hailed document, arguing that it will allow Iran to “produce hundreds of nuclear weapons” after “about a decade.”’

The PM urged a joint effort of the international community to curb Iran, noting that if allies do not support the Israeli lead, it will not hesitate to act on its own.

“If we stand together we will achieve it,” he said. “But if we have to – we’ll stand alone. Iran will not get nuclear weapons. It will not turn Syria into a military base against Israel,” Netanyahu warned.

Netanyahu’s claim that the deal “rescinds all the limitations on Iran’s enrichment capacity,” has been disputed by reports regularly presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s full compliance, the latest such confirmation coming this week. On Monday, a confidential IAEA report, cited by Reuters, reportedly found that Iran did not exceed the limit for enriched uranium stockpiles capped at 300 kilograms, and provided free access for inspection at all nuclear sites. It became the ninth time in a row the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed the Islamic Republic’s conformity with the provisions of the deal.

In his refusal to acknowledge the effectiveness of the deal, Netanyahu is one of a very few world leaders, the others being US President Donald Trump and, recently, French President Emmanuel Macron. Donald Trump notoriously labeled it “the worst deal ever” and refused to recertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement in October. The US Congress now has until mid-December to consider whether to re-impose sanctions on Iran. Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of the possibility of amending the nuclear deal with Iran to cover ballistic missile development by the Islamic Republic, drawing ire from Tehran, which insists that its ballistic missile program and nuclear development are two separate issues.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that both the Iranian and Russian military presence in Syria was “legitimate… at the invitation of the lawful government.”

Speaking about a Russia-US-Jordan agreement to withdraw “non-Syrian” military units from the de-escalation zone in south-eastern Syria, Lavrov said that “there was no talk of Iran, furthermore, of pro-Iranian forces.” Syrian President Bashar Assad has recently thanked Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for standing behind his government in the battle against terrorism.

“The Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran are continuing the fight against oppression and aggression and eliminating the threats of terrorism,” Assad wrote in a letter in September, as cited by Press TV.

Contrary to Iran and Russia, which have been engaged in the conflict at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government, the US-led coalition is operating in Syria without any international mandate or permission from the authorities. Israel has been launching airstrikes on Syrian territory, either targeting what it claims are Hezbollah positions or in retaliation to stray projectiles that occasionally land into the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights.

Former CIA Officer: Israel & Saudi Arabia Want To Drag US Into War With Iran

November 17, 2017 Leave a comment

An ex CIA officer claims that Saudi Arabia and Israel want to drag the United States into war with Iran.

Philip Giraldi, a former American counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer for the CIA says Israel and Saudi Arabia are not in a position to defeat Iran which is why they are trying to draw the US into a war against the Islamic Republic.

Press TV reports :  Giraldi made the remarks in an article headlined Saudi Arabia and Israel Know They Cannot Defeat Iran, Want to Drag the US into an Uncontainable War published on Monday.

“Both Saudi Arabia and Israel know they cannot defeat Iran,” Giraldi wrote, “without the active participation of the United States.”

“That would require shaping the “threat” narrative to start with a series of relatively minor military actions that appear defensive or non-controversial to draw the United States in without really appearing to do so,” he added.

“American involvement would be against Washington’s own interests in the region but it would serve Saudi and Israeli objectives, particularly if the situation is inherently unstable and is allowed to escalate,” he warned.

“Both the Saudis and, more particularly, the Israelis have powerful lobbies in Washington that will push a friendly Congress for increased US involvement and the Iranophobic mainstream media is likely to be similarly positive in helping to shape the arguments for American engagement,” the expert observed.

Giraldi predicted that “the escalation will be starting in Lebanon, where the resignation of Prime Minister al-Hariri has created a plausible instability that can be exploited by Israel supported by heavy pressure from the Saudis to harden the Lebanese government line against Hezbollah.”

During a visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month, Hariri announced his resignation. The announcement is widely seen to have been made under Saudi influence. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to formally consider Hariri’s resignation, saying he has to return first.

Lebanese government officials also said they believed Hariri was “being held” in Saudi Arabia against his will, and signaled that his resignation had not been voluntary.

Last week, Saudi Arabia escalated its threats against Iran, saying there will be a response “in the appropriate time and manner,” following a missile strike from neighboring Yemen, which has been under a nonstop bombardment campaign by a Saudi-led coalition for over two and a half years.

Israel Admit They Are Preparing For War With Iran

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Israel has admitted that it is preparing for war with Iran in an attempt to block Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. 

Israel’s intelligence minister said on Thursday that the military are on standby for a full ground and air invasion of Iran in the event that Trump fails to take a tougher line with the Iranian government.

Usnews.com reports:  Trump said on Oct. 13 he would not certify Iran is complying with an agreement on curtailing its nuclear program, signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, opening a 60-day window for Congress to act to reimpose sanctions.

“If international efforts led these days by U.S. President Trump don’t help stop Iran attaining nuclear capabilities, Israel will act militarily by itself,” Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in an interview in Tokyo. “There are changes that can be made (to the agreement) to ensure that they will never have the ability to have a nuclear weapon.”

Israel has taken unilateral action in the past without the consent of its major ally, the United States, including air strikes on a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007 and in Iraq in 1981. A strike against Iran, however, would be a risky venture with the potential to provoke a counter strike and roil financial markets.

An Israeli threat of military strikes could, nonetheless, galvanize support in the United States for toughening up the nuclear agreement but it could also backfire by encouraging hardliners in Iran and widening a rift between Washington and European allies.

So far, none of the other signatories to the deal – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran and the European Union – has cited serious concerns, leaving the United States isolated.

Japan relies on the U.S. military to help defend it against threats from North Korea and elsewhere. Tokyo’s diplomatic strategy in the Middle East, where it buys almost all its oil, is to maintain friendly relations with all countries, including Iran.

“I asked the Japanese government to support steps led by President Trump to change the nuclear agreement,” said Katz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party. “The question of whether Japanese companies will begin to work in Iran or not is a very important question.”

Katz’s visit to Tokyo comes ahead of a planned trip by Trump from Nov. 5 for a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Officials at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not immediately available to comment.

Israel, Katz said, wants the nuclear agreement to be revised to remove an expiration date, and to impose tighter conditions to stop Tehran from developing new centrifuges used to make weapons-grade nuclear material.

He also urged sanctions to stop Iran from establishing Syria as a military base to launch attacks on Israel and action to put a halt to Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles.

“We will not allow Iran to transform Syria into forward base sea harbors, air bases and Shia militias,” he said. “We will act together with the United States and other countries in the world until they stop the ballistic missiles that threaten Israel.”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday backed new sanctions on Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia.

The Spike Missile: Has Israel Developed the Ultimate Weapon to Kill Tanks?

October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

On October 6, 1973, over eight hundred tanks from three mechanized infantry divisions poured over the Israeli border into the Golan Heights. The sheer mass of armor inflicted heavy casualties on the defending Israeli forces; the defending Barak Brigade saw every company commander killed in action during the attack. While Israeli forces eventually did triumph, this experience lead some in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to think about ways of stopping massed tank formations. Eventually, with the help of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, they developed the Tamuz missile. This missile is now known outside of Israel as the Spike Non-Line-of-Sight (Spike-NLOS), and is considered to be the first member of the Spike family of missiles. Since then, the Spike family has become one of the premier antitank guided weapons in the world, with great export success: it currently serves in many of the world’s most powerful militaries, including those of the UK, Germany, South Korea and India. But how does the Spike work? And why is the Spike family so successful?

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The original Spike missile, the Spike-NLOS, was a pioneering weapon in its field. While television-guided missiles existed before, for aircraft, the Spike-NLOS was the first fielded surface-to-surface missile to use TV guidance. This was because of its original purpose: to stop massed-armor pushes from almost artillery distances with precision attacks. To achieve this, the Spike-NLOS has a tiny fiber-optic cable linking the launching vehicle with the missile, as well as a camera in the missile itself. Through this datalink, the Spike-NLOS operator sees a view of the battlefield. The operator then proceeds to guide the missile to the target. The view afforded to the operator while the missile is in flight allows each missile to act as reconnaissance. The Spike-NLOS launcher can remain fifteen to thirty kilometers away from the target (depending on the generation of missile) while still delivering a precise attack. The TV guidance allows the missile to retarget in flight, as the operator only needs to steer to a different target. It also doesn’t require a “lock” to launch, the operator only needs to know the rough coordinates of the target, allowing Spike-NLOS to act as precision artillery. In a reflection of this role, Spike-NLOS equipped vehicles are assigned to an elite unit of the IDF’s Artillery Corps. Later versions of Spike-NLOS added true homing capability, making the missile self-guiding while also allowing the operator to remain a “man in the loop” and correct and steer the missile mid-flight. It also gives the missile Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) capability. In Israeli literature, this is called “Fire-and-Observe.” Improved cameras (able to see in infrared channels) and laser homing are also included in the latest Israeli versions of Spike-NLOS. They also have the ability to tie into the Israeli command-and-control network, so that data from other sources such as counterbattery radars and drones can help direct the Spike-NLOS to its target.

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Operationally, Spike-NLOS has been a great success. It saw significant use in recent intifadas and the Second Lebanon War, as a tool to neutralize artillery positions. The precise nature of the missile proved useful in areas with many civilians. For this reason, the Spike-NLOS has seen significant export success, with the UK buying it under the name Exactor and deploying it successfully in Afghanistan and Iraq in a similar role. The success of Spike-NLOS in the counterbattery role also resulted in South Korea buying it following the 2010 Yeonpyeong attack as a mean to neutralize North Korean artillery positions.

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The success of the Spike is not limited to the NLOS missile. In the 1990s, trials were undertaken to adapt the Spike missile technology as a smaller weapon, as the IDF needed a new ATGM to replace the aging American M47 Dragon ATGMs currently in use. According to Jane’s Infantry Weapons, the first test firings of this system took place in 1992. First fielded was the Gill missile, known as Spike-MR to the international market. This was a fire-and-forget missile that lacks the command guidance of the Spike-NLOS in exchange for a far lighter launching platform and missile. This version also achieved significant export success, winning Finnish ATGM trials and an order in 2000. This version was also quickly adopted by Singapore and the Netherlands. The Spike-MR can be considered to be a competitor to the American Javelin system, as both consist of similar components and technology. Both have a Command-Launch Unit (CLU) with an integrated Thermal Sight on the launch platform, and both missiles use an electro-optical sensor to home in on their targets. The Spike-MR recently beat out the Javelin in a competition for a large Indian contract.

Rafael has continued to develop the Spike family of missiles. The Spike-LR version reintroduces some of the Spike-NLOS functionality into the smaller Spike missiles, with the same fiber-optic data-link technology that allows the operator to see what the missile sees. This version entered IDF service around the same time as the Spike-MR, and also achieved significant export success, winning large European contracts, including with Germany and Poland. It is popular as a vehicle-mounted ATGM, replacing the Milan in German use as the primary ATGW for the German Infantry Fighting Vehicle. It also has options to be integrated onto helicopters. Recently, the IDF placed orders for the upgraded Spike-LR2. The newer missile comes with more lethal warheads, and the ability for the new CLU to receive data from other sources.

Continuing development, Rafael released the Spike-SR in 2012: a small disposable version meant for squad-level use. Unlike the Spike-MR, where the soldier uses the CLU to acquire the target, which then feeds the data to the Spike missile, a soldier uses the missile seeker itself to acquire the target with the Spike-SR. The Spike-SR also achieved export success in 2016. The final member of the Spike family is the Spike-ER, which is similar to the Spike-LR with additional range and some other features. It has been used by Israel on their Apache helicopters, as well as by the Finns on a ground mount for coastal defense.

But what makes the Spike so successful at export? The commendable performance of the missile in trials and advanced fire-and-observe features are no doubt part of it. But the largest part is probably Rafael’s willingness to license production of the Spike to the countries that adopt it. When Poland adopted the Spike-LR, the Polish Spike’s rocket engines, warheads and launch tubes were made by ZM Mesko, a Polish company. Similar licensing is happening with the Indian adoption of the Spike-MR.

Overall, the Spike missile series is a testament to the ability of the Israeli defense complex to produce novel solutions to diverse threats. It is one of the most successful export and licensing stories of ATGW to this day, with thousands of licensed Spikes being produced around the globe.

Charlie Gao studied Political and Computer Science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national security issues.

Image: A Spike missile is fired. Flickr

5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with Israel

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

The technology that binds all of these other systems together is the Israeli soldier. Since 1948 (and even before) Israel has committed the best of its human capital to the armed forces. The creation of fantastic soldiers, sailors, and airmen doesn’t happen by accident, and doesn’t result simply from the enthusiasm and competence of the recruits. The IDF has developed systems of recruitment, training, and retention that allow it to field some of the most competent, capable soldiers in the world. None of the technologies above work unless they have smart, dedicated, well-trained operators to make them function at their fullest potential.

Since 1948, the state of Israel has fielded a frighteningly effective military machine. Built on a foundation of pre-independence militias, supplied with cast-off World War II weapons, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have enjoyed remarkable success in the field. In the 1960s and 1970s, both because of its unique needs and because of international boycotts, Israel began developing its own military technologies, as well as augmenting the best foreign tech. Today, Israel boasts one of the most technologically advanced military stockpiles in the world, and one of the world’s most effective workforces.

(This first appeared in 2015.)

Here are five of the most deadly systems that the Israeli Defense Forces currently employ.

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Merkava

The Merkava tank joined the IDF in 1979, replacing the modified foreign tanks (most recently of British and American vintage) that the Israelis had used since 1948. Domestic design and construction avoided problems of unsteady foreign supply, while also allowing the Israelis to focus on designs optimized for their environment, rather than for Central Europe.  Around 1,600 Merkavas of various types have entered service, with several hundred more still on the way.

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The Merkava entered service after the great tank battles of the Middle East had ended (at least for Israel). Consequently, the Merkavas have often seen combat in different contexts that their designers expected. The United States took major steps forward with the employment of armor in Iraq and Afghanistan (particularly in the former) in a counter-insurgency context, but the Israelis have gone even farther. After mixed results during the Hezbollah war, the IDF, using updated Merkava IVs, has worked hard to integrate the tanks into urban fighting. In both of the recent Gaza wars, the IDF has used Merkavas to penetrate Palestinian positions while active defense systems keep crews safe. Israel has also developed modifications that enhance the Merkavas’ capabilities in urban and low-intensity combat.

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Indeed, the Merkavas have proved so useful in this regard that Israel has cancelled plans to stop line production, despite a lack of significant foreign orders.

F-15I Thunder

The Israeli Air Force has flown variants of the F-15 since the 1970s, and has become the world’s most versatile and effective user of the Eagle. As Tyler Rogoway’s recent story on the IAF fleet makes clear, the Israelis have perfected the F-15 both for air supremacy and for strike purposes. Flown by elite pilots, the F-15Is (nicknamed “thunder”) of the IAF remain the most lethal squadron of aircraft in the Middle East.

The F-15I provides Israel with several core capabilities. It remains an effective air-to-air combat platform, superior to the aircraft available to Israel’s most plausible foes (although the Eurofighter Typhoons and Dassault Rafales entering service in the Gulf, not to mention Saudi Arabia’s own force of F-15SAs, undoubtedly would provide some competition. But as Rogoway suggests, the Israelis have worked long and hard at turning the F-15 into an extraordinarily effective strike platform, one capable of hitting targets with precision at long range. Most analysts expect that the F-15I would play a key role in any Israeli strike against Iran, along with some of its older brethren.

Jericho III

The earliest Israeli nuclear deterrent came in the form of the F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers that the IAF used to such great effect in conventional missions in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. Soon, however, Israel determined that it required a more effective and secure deterrent, and began to invest heavily in ballistic missiles. The Jericho I ballistic missile entered service in the early 1970s, to eventually be replaced by the Jericho II and Jericho III.

The Jericho III is the most advanced ballistic missile in the region, presumably (Israel does not offer much data on its operation) capable of striking targets not only in the Middle East, but also across Europe, Asia, and potentially North America. The Jericho III ensures that any nuclear attack against Israel would be met with devastating retaliation, especially as it is unlikely that Israel could be disarmed by a first strike. Of course, given that no potential Israeli foe has nuclear weapons (or will have them in the next decade, at least), the missiles give Jerusalem presumptive nuclear superiority across the region.

Dolphin

Israel acquired its first submarine, a former British “S” class, in 1958. That submarine and others acquired in the 1960s played several important military roles, including defense of the Israeli coastline, offensive operations against Egyptian and Syrian shipping, and the delivery of commando teams in war and peace. These early boats were superseded by the Gal class, and finally by the German Dolphin class (really two separate classes related to the Type 212) boats, which are state-of-the-art diesel-electric subs.

The role of the Dolphin class in Israel’s nuclear deterrent has almost certainly been wildly overstated. The ability of a diesel electric submarine to carry out deterrent patrols is starkly limited, no matter what ordnance they carry. However, the Dolphin remains an effective platform for all sorts of other missions required by the IDF. Capable of maritime reconnaissance, of sinking or otherwise interdicting enemy ships, and also of delivering special forces to unfriendly coastlines, the Dolphins represent a major Israeli security investment, and one of the most potentially lethal undersea forces in the region.

The Israeli Soldier

The technology that binds all of these other systems together is the Israeli soldier. Since 1948 (and even before) Israel has committed the best of its human capital to the armed forces. The creation of fantastic soldiers, sailors, and airmen doesn’t happen by accident, and doesn’t result simply from the enthusiasm and competence of the recruits. The IDF has developed systems of recruitment, training, and retention that allow it to field some of the most competent, capable soldiers in the world. None of the technologies above work unless they have smart, dedicated, well-trained operators to make them function at their fullest potential.

Conclusion

When considering the effectiveness of Israeli weapons, and the expertise of the men and women who wield them, it’s worth noting that for all the tactical and operational success the IDF has enjoyed, Israel remains in a strategically perilous position. The inability of Israel to develop long-term, stable, positive relationships with its immediate neighbors, regional powers, and the subject populations of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip means that Jerusalem continues to feel insecure, its dominance on land, air, and sea notwithstanding. Tactics and technologies, however effective and impressive, cannot solve these problems; only politics can.

Image: Reuters. 

Israel Bomb The Hell Out Of Syria Following ISIS Defeat

October 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Israel have conducted a bombing campaign over Syria, just one day after President Putin liberated the country from ISIS.

The Israeli army attacked an anti-aircraft battery near Damascus Monday after it claimed a Syrian SA5-type missile attempted to target Israel Air Force planes.

Haaretz.com reports:  The Syrian missile did not hit its Israeli targets but the Israel Defense Forces decided to hit the battery, the army said.

The army targeted the battery with four bombs and, according to the IDF, the battery was damaged to the extent it was no longer operational. The army said the battery targeted was the same that fired at Israeli jets last March, prompting Israel make use of its Arrow anti-missile system for the first time.

The Syrian military warned of “dangerous consequences” following the rare strike, claiming that they successfuly hit an Israeli jet during the strike. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the strike, saying that “today they attempted to hit our planes,” calling the incident “unacceptable.” He added that “if anyone attempts to harm us, we will harm them back.”

Israel believes Syrian forces fired out of assumption that the Israeli planes intended to attack. The Israeli army spokesperson told reporters that the planes were instead on a reconnaissance mission in Lebanon, photographing sites for Israeli intelligence.

“The Syrian regime is responsible for any firing from its territory. We see this incident as a clear provocation and we will not allow it,” said Ronen Manlis, an IDF spokesperson in a briefing with reporters.

“If anti-aircraft fire is being carried out for any military activity, we will respond as we did now,” he said.

The Syrian missiles were fired at IDF planes on a routine photographic mission that flew into Lebanese territory, an area under the protection of Syrian missiles. The Israeli army says that they are prepared for the possibility of Syrian retaliation, but do see the incident is an escalation.

Before striking Syria, the IDF says it notified Russia of its intentions. The attack comes hours before Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will arrive in Israel for an official and he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is hosting him.

In September, the Israeli military struck a chemical arms plant in in Syria, foreign media reports claimed at the time. The Syrian army general command confirmed in a statement the attack on what they called a military facility, and said that two people were killed and extensive damage was caused. Israel refused to comment on the reports.

Israel has attacked convoys bringing arms to Hezbollah and groups on several Israeli fronts dozens of times over the last five years, a top Israeli military commander confirmed for the first time two weeks ago.

The number of Israeli attacks on such convoys since 2012 is approaching triple digits, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the outgoing commander of the Israel Air Force, told Haaretz.

Bernie Sanders: We Need To Cut Ties With Israel

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has blasted the U.S. Deep State for being in bed with Israel, and has called on all ties with the terrorist state to be severed.

In an interview published Friday, Sanders said the United States should “play a much more evenhanded role” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and should cut all military funding to Israel due to their illegal occupation of the West Bank.

Haaretz.com reports: Sanders made the comments during an interview on foreign policy to the left-wing website The Intercept. Commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sanders said that “the United States is complicit” in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but immediately added that “it’s not to say that Israel is the only party at fault.”

In the past, Sanders has publicly called to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. More recently, however, the independent Vermont senator has spoken out against boycotts of Israel and signed a letter, endorsed by the entire Senate, denouncing the United Nations for its bias against the Jewish state.

In the interview, Sanders said that “in terms of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the United States has got to play a much more evenhanded role. Clearly that is not the case right now.”

When asked if he would “ever consider” a reduction of military aid to Israel, Sanders said “the answer is yes,” and provided the following explanation:

“U.S. funding plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how U.S. aid can bring people together, not just result in an arms war in that area. I think there is extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas. At the same time, demand that Israel, in their own interests in a way, work with other countries on environmental issues. So the answer is yes.”
Sanders also expressed strong criticism of U.S. foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia.

“I think that one of the areas that we have got to rethink, in terms of American foreign policy, is our position vis-a-vis Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “For whatever reason – and I think we know some of the reasons having to do with a three-letter word called oil – the United States has kind of looked aside at the fact that Saudi Arabia is an incredibly antidemocratic country and has played a very bad role internationally, but we have sided with them time and time and time again, and yet Iran, which just held elections, Iran, whose young people really want to reach out to the West, we are continuing to put them down.”

Sanders continued, “It is not just that many of the 9/11 bombers came from Saudi Arabia. … What I think is more significant is their continuing to fund madrassas and to spread an extremely radical Wahhabi doctrine in many countries around the world. And they are funding these mosques, they’re funding the madrassas, and they are fomenting a lot of hatred.”
Sanders did concede, however, that there were “legitimate concerns” about Iran’s foreign policy, but noted that the United States should choose a more “evenhanded” approach when dealing with the two Islamic religious regimes in Riyadh and Tehran.
When asked if Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States, Sanders replied: “Do I consider them an ally? I consider them to be an undemocratic country that has supported terrorism around the world, it has funded terrorism, so I can’t. No, they are not an ally of the United States.”

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