Benny Gantz was in Washington this week. His mission was to get as much as he could form the Trump administration to compensate for the sale of advanced military equipment to the United Arab Emirates as part of the normalization agreement signed between Israel and the UAE last week.
In my latest piece for Responsible Statecraft, I look at some of the particular items he might be asking for. But of far greater importance is the bigger picture of what all of this means for the future of the entire Middle East. Many, myself included, have been rightfully focusing on the UAE leading a charge of Arab states abandoning the Palestinians, and moving forward in partnership with Israel as if the occupation did not exist. That’s a crucial point, but we need to look at the fact that these deals between Israel, Bahrain, and quite possibly other Arab states, potentially including Saudi Arabia represent an enormous escalation of U.S. arms sales to the region.
With Israel’s qualitative military edge guaranteed in U.S. law, a sharp upgrade in the arms sold to Arab states means an even bigger increase in arms to Israel. The region is going to be flooded with U.S. armaments in an unprecedented way. And that is not going to go unnoticed in Tehran, in Ankara, and, yes, in Moscow.
I examine these implications and more, and what might be done about them at Responsible Statecraft.