Friday, July 24, 2015

About that Arab-Israeli rapprochement . . .

. . . that I forecast earlier this month, and again yesterday?

Headline:  "Jordan acquires ex-Israeli Cobra attack helicopters".

Israel has transferred 16 Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters to Jordan to assist its air force in the fight against Islamic State militants, US sources have confirmed.

The rotorcraft involved had been phased out of use by the Israeli air force several years ago, and were refurbished prior to being flown to Jordan, the sources add.

. . .

Foreign sources have claimed that Israel and Jordan have been cooperating in the fight against Islamic State, in most cases through joint intelligence activities. This is the first time that there has been a transfer of weapon systems between the nations, the sources add.

Israeli, Jordanian and US officials decline to comment on the move, which could only have been made with Washington's approval.

There's more at the link.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

So, Israel has transferred to an Arab state - and a traditional enemy, one that's sided with the Palestinians on most issues against Israel and fought a war with that country a few decades ago - weaponry that it first refurbished, and did so with US permission.  The helicopters will, of course, be used in Jordan's campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria (you'll recall ISIS burned to death a Jordanian F-16 pilot earlier this year).  I'd say that's a rapprochement in spades!  (It's very Middle Eastern, though.  As the old Arab proverb says, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".  Israel doesn't want an ISIS-dominated Syria, or Lebanon, or Gaza.  If Jordan is ISIS' enemy, Jordan has just become Israel's friend.)

There are a couple of wider geopolitical implications as well.

  • I'd be interested to know who paid for the helicopters to be refurbished first.  It wouldn't surprise me to find Saudi petrodollars involved in the transaction.
  • If Israel has to launch air strikes against Iran, it will almost certainly have to overfly Jordanian territory to get there.  I'd say the chances of Israel getting permission to do so - or, at least, having Jordan turn a Nelsonian blind eye to the overflights - have just improved considerably.



Old NFO said...

Overflight permissions, SAR support, who knows what else...

0007 said...

Jordan and Israel have been joined at the hip for a long time. When I was working in Jordan I was told that much of the fruit that we bought was shipped into Jordan from Israel and then repackaged there.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA. How will 16 fifty year old AH1A's effect the "Mideast"? They were shooting those flying targets down by the dozen with "Strellas" and small arms as far back as 1968. If they gave the Arabs , outdated 40+ year old TOW launchers they might work 60% of the time. If they gave them "hellfires" I have to ask; How old and how many? This is a lot of smoke and propaganda with very little meat. Jordon would have been better off (and better armed) with WW2 P-51s or AD-1 "skyraiders" than they CAN be with those 200000 flight hours, Vietnam war leftovers. What's next? "Refurbished" T55's? "Super Sherman's?" Centurians? M-48's? Because "refurbished" or not the airframes are from the same early 1960's era, and were obsolete (and worn out) when we gave them away as "aid" in the late 1970's.

Grog said...

Peter, would you consider it possible that, given the antipathy between deecee and Israel, that the transfer was completed without the approval of deecee?

Theother Ryan said...

I cannot recall if it was 64 or 73 but after a good ass kicking Jordan decided to get along with their neighbors and have stayed out of the whole 'kill the jews' thing since. The current King Abdullah is pretty westernized in terms of education and military background.

Also after ISIS killed that pilot I thing he hung two of theirs then started bombing, personally leading some runs. If I recall he said Jordan would fight ISIS till they ran out of bombs, fuel and bullets or something to that effect.

It would be a stretch to call Jordan and Israel enemies, awkward bedfellows might actually be more appropriate. They both have a stake in killing those terribly misguided monsters. Heck, I think the whole sane decent world, all politics/ religion aside could agree there nutjobs have to go.

Will said...

The Israeli's have a long history of refurbishing aircraft and other military vehicles and ancillary equipment. Typically, the end result is better than OEM, due to the fact that they have been on a war footing since '48, and it has to work in real life.

Here in the US, manufacturers can futz around with junk like the F-35, and sell it on speculation that it might actually work some day, maybe. Israel can't get away with that sort of bullshit. They redesign, or modify, almost everything they acquire, to meet their real world requirements. They also have a reputation they have to maintain, so you can be sure that they are not delivering some useless choppers to their neighbors.

Jonathan H said...

Israel and Jordan have gotten along fairly well since the late 70's - I think they were scared by the Palestinian attempts to take over Jordan in the early to mid 70's. Given the Israeli's penchant for secrecy, I assume this came out because they had to get US approval for it and that other weapons and military support items have been transferred that did not get publicized.
Israel has always preferred to keep fighting away from their borders if possible and has helped keep it that way with military assistance before.