The U.S. House Appropriations Committee this week released a draft defense spending bill that would provide nearly $1 billion in military aid to Israel's various antimissile efforts, the Israeli business website Globes reported (see GSN, Feb. 21).
The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee's preliminary legislation allocates $948.7 million for missile defense assistance in addition to the $3.1 billion Israel is already in line to receive in military aid for fiscal 2013, which begins on Oct. 1. Should the additional allocation be approved by Congress and President Obama, it would represent the largest amount of defense assistance Washington has ever sent to Tel Aviv in a single year. Subpanel appropriators were expected to approve the markup on Tuesday.
The Obama administration sought substantially less -- only $99.8 million -- in its fiscal 2013 request for Israeli missile defense activities, according to previous reports.
Under the House measure, Israel would receive nearly $74.7 million for its Arrow 3 long-range missile interceptor effort; approximately $44.4 million for the Arrow System Improvement Program; and almost $149.7 million for David's Sling, also known as Magic Wand and aimed at defeating medium-range missiles.
Roughly $680 million would go toward the Iron Dome rocket defense technology (Ran Dagoni, Globes, May 8).
The United States and Israel are deepening their missile defense cooperation as a hedge against Iran's ballistic missile development. Washington is also seeking to draw in Persian Gulf nations into a regional missile defense framework.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council last month signaled its support for building a collective regional ballistic missile shield (see GSN, April 17).
A high-ranking officer of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on Tuesday dismissed the efforts of some of its Arab neighbors to cooperate with the United States and potentially Israel on antimissile activities, the Fars News Agency reported.
"Joining the missile shield project in the Persian Gulf actually means certain regional states are naively stepping into the operational phase of the Zionist regime and the United States' plot in the region," IRGC Second Naval Zone commander Ali Razmjou said in an interview with the state news agency.
Razmjou said the envisioned missile shield would be aimed principally at protecting Israel. "We hope that the countries located on the southern rims of the Persian Gulf take a deeper look at issues and realize that the U.S. will not remain loyal to them" (Fars News Agency, May 8).
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee this week released a draft defense spending bill that would provide nearly $1 billion in military aid to Israel's various antimissile efforts, the Israeli business website Globes reported.