The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Algeria gets “Schenkered” in arms deal – the old Israeli redline always returns

One remembers that in the critical 2005-2006 period when Hizbullah’s back was against the wall, Syria’s army had been driven out of Lebanon, Hizbullah was in a coalition government and electoral alliance with the “pro-US” parties… and there was a first of its kind national dialogue on hizbullah’s weapons – all this was happening under the watch – in part – of David Schenker. 

David joined the pro-likud WINEP after this stint at the department of defense, but it is due in part to his work for the bush pentagon that a great missed opportunity for arming the lebanon army – and thereby starting to build a non violent approach to undermining Hizbullah’s ability and desire to exercise violence – happened.

Now we read in the Algerian media that Algeria too is hitting up against a sometimes counter productive Israeli veto/redline on arming up states in the region. I am generally opposed to a focus on arming up – and the regime in Algeria probably does not need more and better weapons since they are a main reason why there is such a fight against extremists in that region in the first place! – but nevertheless, one can say that they have been “Schenkered.”

Meaning, the real reason why the army is not able to build a more powerful force is because of pro-Israel Lobbying. Fine when it comes to Algeria, but a disaster when Lebanon’s army got Schenkered in 2005-2006 and after (when they requested a real capacity and were effectively denied, as Schenkered later acknowledged in his Forbes magazine piece).

From the Algerian newspaper El-Khabar on 22 April:
“Algeria has cancelled an arms deal with big US companies valued at 3bn dollars in the second half of 2011 due to US restrictions which included cutting down the list of purchases to less than half and raising the maintenance cost which to 100m dollars per year.

The Ministry of National Defence decided in mid-2011 to finally turn away from a number of projects for the purchase of US military arms and equipment valued at 3bn dollars between 2010 and 2011 after negotiations that continued for longer than a year.

Informed source said that the Ministry of National Defence decided at the end of 2009 to start negotiations with US weapons companies on the refurbishing of some Algerian naval vessels and modernising their safety and security equipment within the framework of modernisation and reorganization of the Algerian Navy.

The proposed deal included the purchase of two US frigates, 30 Chinook helicopters, navigation equipment to help safe movement in the high seas, coding and communications equipment, and computer systems within the framework of security agreements to protect maritime trade from terrorist operations in western Mediterranean. However, the deal was cancelled a few months after a visit to the US of a Ministry of National Defence delegation of engineers, experts and negotiators.

Our sources revealed that the reason for the cancellation of the deal was the reservation of US political circles about selling some maritime navigation equipment to Algeria under the pretext that the equipment would undermine the safety of US allies and upset maritime balance of powers.

The sources revealed that the deal was cancelled by Algeria after the US side reduced the list of purchases by half and imposed restrictions on the use of other military equipment.

The sources added that Jewish groups in the US which were active within the Israeli lobby in America had put pressure on the Obama Administration to prevent the completion of the military equipment deal which Algeria was negotiating with US companies in 2010. Top officials in Algeria considered the reduction of the list of requirements to half as tantamount to a retraction on promises made to provide weapons for Algeria to combat terrorism.

The sources added that the cost of maintenance of the equipment which was to be purchased initially contributed to turning away from the deal; the cost of training teams and maintenance experts went up to more than 100m dollars per year.

Our sources stressed that the Israeli lobby contributed towards preventing the completion of the arms deal between Algeria and the US, which would have made the US weapons industry the second biggest supplier to the Algerian army.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

May 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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