Israel asks U.S. for arms that could aid Iran strike

JERUSALEM Thu Mar 8, 2012 7:22am EST

1 of 3. U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has asked the United States for advanced "bunker-buster" bombs and refueling planes that could improve its ability to attack Iran's underground nuclear sites, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

"Such a request was made" around the time of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week, the official said, confirming media reports.

But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the issue, played down as "unrealistic" reports that the United States would condition supplying the hardware on Israel promising not to attack Iran this year.

Netanyahu told Obama at a White House meeting on Monday that Israel had not yet decided on military action against Iran, sources close to the talks said.

Netanyahu has hinted that Israel could resort to force should Tehran - which denies suspicions that it is covertly trying to develop atomic bombs - continue to defy big powers' diplomatic pressure to curb its nuclear program.

The risk of an Israeli-Iranian war troubles President Barack Obama, who is up for re-election in November and has cautioned against kindling more Middle East upheaval. A Gulf conflict could send oil prices rocketing upwards.

A front-page article in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Thursday said Obama had told Netanyahu that Washington would supply Israel with upgraded military equipment in return for assurances that there would be no attack on Iran in 2012.

Israel is widely assumed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal but its conventional firepower may not be enough to deliver lasting damage to Iran's distant, dispersed and well-fortified facilities, many experts say.

Israel has limited stocks of older, smaller bunker-busters and a small fleet of refueling planes, all supplied by Washington.

Western powers suspect Iran's uranium enrichment program is aimed at stockpiling fissile material for nuclear weapons. Iran says it is strictly for civilian energy uses.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (6)
stambo2001 wrote:
So in short, the usa will proliferate more WMD to Israel so long as they don’t attack during an election year. This pretty much states clearly that the usa is going to supply the weaponry for the attack on Iran.

Is not the usa already in violation of its own laws by proliferating nuclear technology to israel who is not a signatory of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty?

Mar 08, 2012 6:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
fritzk wrote:
stenographic drivel.
sounds like media is either stoopit enough to believe that israel hasn’t bought or built a re-fueler since 1967 or media thinks i’m stoopit enough to believe that israel hasn’t been able to acquire a refueler since 1967.
hint to media: it ain’t me.
2nd hint to media: we need you to get relevant.

Mar 08, 2012 8:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
Austell wrote:
There is no such thing as an ‘accidental leak’ when it comes to this kind of information…

This is a deliberate ‘leak’ and part of a media campaign to keep the sheepish public talking about war on Iran.

You see it’s a careful craft creating a bloodthirsty media frenzy to war. It’s a big step to take the reader out of the ‘debate’ stage, where we are largely debating whether or not any action whatsoever is justified, and just what exactly we were talking about it in the first place for… to the stage where we are talking about HOW we are going to wage war.

You see these world beaters and global dictators are on a timeline… and they can’t wait for the public to reach a concensus on IF we should invade a sovereign nation. We have to just steamroller over this whole line of conversation and start from a new base of – ‘well assume we are going to war, how should we go about it’.

And from there it just snowballs into a mad frenzy of emotion and a video game of play by play entertainment for the attack which has actually been planned down to the letter for the last decade or two and has just become ‘politicaly viable’…

No reuters, let’s not move past the atrocity of even considering to back the psychopathic Israel, the most hated and racist regime in the entire world, in an attack on an innocent sovereign state which may collapse the entire world economy! An attack which we ourselves have defined as ‘nuclear terrorism’, by an illegally nuclear armed fundamentalist religious state.

Lets immediately stop talking about HOW to attack Iran and destabalize the entire world, and return to debating the insanity of the VERY FEW fanatical idiots who would risk all our futures for more blood.

Mar 08, 2012 8:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
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