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U.S. to sell $10 billion in weapons to Israel, others

By Mason White 11:24 AM April 21, 2013
Advanced Israeli fighter jet 

By: Ryan Lee Hall
The U.S. has nearly closed a deal that calls for selling $10 billion in advanced military weapons to Israel and several other Middle East countries, according to press reports in the United States.

The Pentagon announced last week that it has reached a preliminary agreement on a complex weapons deal involving selling $10 billion in weapons to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in what represents the largest sale of weapons to U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will finalize the arms package next week, when he plans to visit the three countries. Ultimately, the agreement will need the approval of Congress.

Under the terms of the agreement, the United States will deliver the V-22 Osprey transport aircraft, KC-135 refueling aircraft and anti-radiation missiles to Israel, about two dozen F-16 fighter aircraft to the United Arab Emirates, and advanced aircraft and missiles to the Saudis.

U.S. officials said the weapons are designed to improve the military capabilities of each country in the event of a conflict with Iran.

U.S. officials said the White House wanted to ensure that Israel maintains a “qualitative military edge” in the region, while at the same time improve Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates defenses. Like the United States and Israel, the two Arab countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and they consider that the greatest threat facing the Middle East.

“I am delighted to see that the Pentagon is taking the Iran threat seriously and providing Israel with the world’s most advanced military helicopters. With these new weapons, Israel will be able to neutralize Iran pretty easily,” Dennis Wagner, 38, of Washington D.C. told after learning about the arms sale.

Overall, Israel receives more annual U.S. military aid than any other foreign country. The White House has proposed giving Israel $3.4 billion next year.