Friday, January 22, 2010

Qualitative Military Edge, Part I: What it is and Where it Went

Report #: 956
21 January '10

The Forward started it in December. Ha'aretz picked up the theme this month, writing, "The Bush administration violated security related agreements with Israel in which the U.S. promised to preserve the IDF's qualitative military edge (QME) over Arab armies, according to senior officials in the Obama administration and Israel," and suggesting that National Security Adviser Jim Jones's trip to Israel in mid-January was to discuss the QME. (Actually it was to push Israel into more pointless talks with Palestinians, who declined to cooperate.)

The objective appears to be PR for the Obama Administration, the standing of which is very, very low among Israelis. Trashing the previous administration is a favored tactic - but the truth is both less and more than it appears.

The concept of a QME is "iffy" to begin with;

The Bush Administration did several things that reduced Israel's capabilities against certain of its enemies, while strengthening Israel in other ways;

The Obama administration is repeating the mistakes, doubling down on them and adding its own new ones;

Israel, in very important ways, isn't protesting where it might.

The QME began as a Johnson Administration promise (not a treaty) to maintain Israel's ability to prevail over any reasonable combination of Arab forces in a non-nuclear war. The promise has been repeated by successive administrations-unquantified and unquantifiable. Weapons themselves can be counted, but Israel's edge over Arab armies was always more than that. It was-and remains-a combination of:

(Read full report)

Related: QME, Part II: U.S. Arms Sales to the Arabs, and Help (?) for Israel

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