By Shoshana Bryen
WASHINGTON, D.C — The U.S. Department of the Army put out a request for information on “Afghanistan National Army Air Corps English and Pilot Training.”
The Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training & Instrumentation (PEO STRI) is conducting market research by seeking sources with innovative business solutions to (1) train and certify up to 67 Afghani student pilots to an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) English level 4 in the English language; and (2) provide basic rotary wing or fixed wing Commercial Pilot Training to the European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) standards.
It is desired that the English language and basic pilot training take place within South West Asia. PEO STRI requests information on sources available to perform training in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E, Uzbekistan, Yemen or other locations in Southwest Asia with the capability to provide requested training.
How is it possible that Syria, a charter and current member of the U.S. State Department list of terrorism-supporting countries, is considered an acceptable place to train Afghan pilots? Or Lebanon, which has Hezbollah as a member of the governing cabinet in Beirut? Hezbollah is a charter and current member of the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations, and until September 11, 2001, had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group. Didn’t Kyrgyzstan just have a coup inspired/financed by Russia? Wouldn’t training pro-Western Afghan pilots in Pakistan send those people from the frying pan into the fire? Isn’t Yemen home to some of the most virulently anti-American, anti-Western al Qaeda operatives and preachers, including Anwar al-Awlakiwho was talking to U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan before he killed 13 Americans at Ft. Hood?
Aside from the fact that some of the countries listed are not in South West Asia, as the request for information requires, not one is remotely democratic. OK, we’ll give Jordan a few points and some to Iraq, but that’s it.
What would possess the United States Army to expose Afghani pilots, who are supposed to secure a functional and consensual state in Afghanistan, to countries where the governments are almost uniformly totalitarian, functionally repressive, less than hospitable to reform or dissent, and have women in positions of legal inferiority? Saudi Arabia is the financier of a particularly repressive, homophobic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic form of Islam exported around the world.
We did not expect to see Israel on the list, although Israel certainly is capable of training pilots to the European Joint Aviation Authority standards, and a few months in Israel would impart some Western governmental, judicial and social norms, including religious and political tolerance.
But if not Israel, why not Britain or Italy or France or Spain or Portugal? Why not Denmark or Colombia or Mali or Uruguay? Why not India or Indonesia or Taiwan or Japan?
The list is clearly weighted toward the part of the world to which President Obama wishes to show American comity. Unfortunately, it is also a part of the world in which neither American policies nor American values are particularly welcome items on the agenda. The list and the thinking behind it are political mistakes that should be corrected. Certainly, they should be corrected before we give the Afghanis the idea that the norms of Syria and Lebanon are ones we want them to adopt.
Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member
PRESS RELEASE (WJS)–Following the assassination of a Hamas commander blamed on the Hamas, Israelis who also hold the passport of another country will be banned from entering the United Arab Emirates if identified as Jews, according to Dubai’s police chief. Israeli nationals are currently not permitted to travel to the country, but Israeli citizens holding a passport of a third country can currently enter the country. “We will not allow those who hold Israeli passports into the UAE no matter what other passport they have,” Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said.
“We knew Israelis from their accents, but when they used European passports to come here, we accepted that and we treated them as Europeans. But after this day, if they have dual citizenship, we will exert extreme caution.”
“We know how to recognize them,” Tamim explained, saying his officials would be on the lookout for “Jews” and would identify them by “physical features and the way they speak.”
Israelis have been admitted to the UAE in recent years for specific reasons, including sports competitions and a recent energy conference. The sanctions come as Dubai authorities insist that they were sure that Israel’s Mossad carried out the assassination in a Dubai hotel room of a top Hamas official in January. The assassins used forged passports from five European countries to enter Dubai.
Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian delegation in Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, said Jewish leaders in Australia had to decide whether their loyalties lay with Australia or Israel. “I think the Jewish community [leaders] should be more constructive and behave as Australians and protect the integrity of Australian citizens,” Abdullhadi said in an interview with the newspaper ‘The Australian’.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress
PRESS RELEASE (WJC)–Citing “sources with knowledge of Mossad”, the British newspaper ‘The Sunday Times’ reports that in early January Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally authorized the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai by a 11-member hit squad of the Mossad. The agents reportedly used fake diplomatic passports to enter the United Arab Emirates.
The foreign ministers of the European Union member states were expected to issue a statement later on Monday condemning the assassination and the use of false European passports, but the statement is unlikely to mention Israel. However, the ‘Jerusalem Post cites an unnamed senior EU official as saying: “The passport controversy obviously will be harmful for the way Israel is treated by the EU.”
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said the use of fake passports in the killing of the Hamas commander in a Dubai hotel room on 19 January was an issue of concern for all EU member states. “We are extremely concerned that a passport, which is a very rigorous and legal document, can be used in a different manner and for a different purpose,” he told reporters in Brussels. “We will discuss it, and I hope we will issue a statement expressing our concern.” Moratinos added that he would ask his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman about the affair on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday.
Dubai police last week said the assassins of the Hamas leader had used forged British, Irish, French and German passports and had been sent by Israel. The Israeli government has declined to confirm or deny this claim. Israel’s Deputy Israel Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said on Saturday that he foresaw no crisis in Israel’s relations with Europe over the use of foreign passports, as Israel had nothing to do with it.
According to Hamas’ own statements, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was responsible for supplying militants in the Gaza Strip with arms.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress
WASHINGTON, DC (Press Release)– The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Dec. 22 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of enhanced guided bomb units and associated parts, equipment, training and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $290 million.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested a possible sale of 400 GBU-24(V) 11/B Enhanced PAVEWAY III, 400 GBU-24(V) 12/B Enhanced PAVEWAY III, 400 GBU-49(V) 3/B Enhanced PAVEWAY II, 400 GBU-50(V) 1/B Enhanced PAVEWAY II, 800 MK-84 2000 lbs Bombs, 400 MK-82 500 lbs Bombs, 400 BLU-109/B 2000 lbs Bombs. Also included are containers, bomb components, mission planning software, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel support services, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $290 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a critical and key partner, which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. This proposed sale supports the prior sale of the Block 60 F-16s to the UAE.
The proposed sale of the weapons will strengthen the effectiveness and interoperability of a potential coalition partner, reduce the dependence on U.S. forces in the region, and enhance any coalition operations the U.S. may undertake. The UAE will have no difficulty absorbing these additional munitions into its armed forces. The proposed sale of these weapon systems will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractors are the Raytheon Corporation of Waltham, Massachusetts, and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant of McAlester, Oklahoma. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the UAE. The number of U.S. Government and contractor representatives required in UAE to support the program will be determined in joint negotiations as the program proceeds through the development, production, and equipment installation phase.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
Preceding provided by U.S. Defense Department