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Syrian ambassador challenges U.S. official on Israel nukes

Andrew J. Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, gave a speech Friday morning at the Brookings Institution highlighting the growing security and military ties between the United States and Israel. During the question-and-answer period, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, asked Shapiro how he could discuss U.S.-Israeli military ties and never once mention Israel's not-so-secret nuclear arsenal.

Under an agreement dating back to the Nixon administration, the U.S. officially maintains a don't-ask-don't-tell policy on Israel's nukes, pledging not raise the issue as long as Israel never officially confirms it has nuclear weapons.

Shapiro began to answer but quickly realized he was headed in a dangerous direction: "I am not going to be the first U.S. official to discuss uh, uh, uh....."

"Israel's nuclear capacity," Moustapha helpfully interjected.

Shapiro's speech, meanwhile, contained one startling statistic. He noted that Israel is on track to receive $3 billion in military financing from the U.S. government in 2011. The total budget for such is $5 billion, which means that Israel by itself gets 60 percent; the other 70 countries who receive military aid share the other $2 billion.

By Glenn Kessler  | July 16, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
 
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Comments

Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons with its record of disproportionately killing Arab civilians is not a problem for the US. Why should it be? The US has excelled in that arena. As for Israel, it continues to commit state-terrorism, assassination, war crimes, and now piracy in international waters; from Ban Ki Moon to Obama and every other western leader looks on with regret after regret, whilst privileged Israel continues to ignore and plead the usual ‘argument’ of: we are victims acting in self-defence.

"Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves." -
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech to the Knesset quoted in Begin and the Beasts," New Statesman, June 25, 1982 by Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk.

Posted by: ardestani | July 16, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons with its record of disproportionately killing Arab civilians is not a problem for the US. Why should it be? The US has excelled in that arena. As for Israel, it continues to commit state-terrorism, assassination, war crimes, and now piracy in international waters; from Ban Ki Moon to Obama and every other western leader looks on with regret after regret, whilst privileged Israel continues to ignore and plead the usual ‘argument’ of: we are victims acting in self-defence.

Posted by: ardestani | July 16, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Israel has never nuked a country before and if it does have weapons, then it is not planning to use them. Israel does act in self defense from the provocations of its not-so-friendly neighbors. There have been many suicide bombings, which is the reason for the dreaded fence, I mean come on really, your going to complain about a fence?!?!? Seriously, in America almost all of us have fences, that doesnt mean we can't get along! I know for a fact if America was Israel's neighbor there would be peace in the middle east. Also Israel is not an apartheid country, everyone has equal rights, if anything Muslim countries are, since Jews would have no rights there (that is if they would be allowed in since most Jews have been kicked out or killed).
If you do not believe me that Palestinians don't want peace, just read their Hamas charter (Hamas is their government elected by the people and known as a terrorist group by western countries such as the USA and more) on http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm also ardestani ^^ is clearly anti-Israel in his post.

Posted by: tal32123 | July 16, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, of course, Israel should have nuclear weapons kept in secret as part of its strategic ambiguity policy. Its leaders are intelligent, educated, rational, logical, discerning, and calculating. They can be trusted with 300 nuclear weapons. Iran's or Syria's leaders can not be trusted with even 1 or 2 nukes as a strategy of minimal deterrence, right?

In the meantime, let us also either ignore or give Israel the benefit of the doubt on such issues as: the massive killing of Lebanese and UN civilians during the Hezbollah War, the (mild) Goldstone Report on the brutal Gaza invasion, the convictions of IDF soldiers and a Jewish settler terrorist for murdering Palestinians, the upcoming oath of allegiance to be taken by all Israelis, especially by Israeli Arabs, Chomsky not allowed into Israel, increased censorship in Israel, the flotilla attack, the Gaza blockade, East Jerusalem housing demolitions, the Dubai assassination, the removal of Palestinian leaders from Jerusalem and the West Bank, the continuing Middle Ages or Nazi-like preoccupation with who is or should be a Jew in Israel, and all of the other myths and contradictions which make up Israel.

Really, how much more latitude will we provide this artificially-created and treacherous state? Too bad that the real indigenous inhabitants of Palestine have had to take the full brunt of all of these things, as well as the repercussions of a WWII holocaust. And you think that Iran (a religious state like Israel) and Syria (has a real politik foreign policy like Israel) are all that dangerous? If it was not for 125yrs of Zionist wealth, media dominance, and political power in the West, perhaps truth, justice, real democracy, and honorable peace might prevail, or be better reflected, in American, British, French and German policies and behaviors.

Posted by: sssallie51 | July 17, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Even if Israel does have nuclear weapons, what the media fails (unsurprisingly) to point out is that, unlike Iran, Israel has never once threatened to wipe another country off the map. If anyhting, Israel’s (alleged) nuclear weapons are for defensive purposes, not offensive. There's a world of difference.

Posted by: steve601 | July 18, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

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