US Rejects Israeli Request For Expedited Tanker Aircraft Amid Iran Threat
The Biden administration has rejected an urgent Israeli request to accelerate the delivery fuel tanker aircraft that are considered vital to Israel’s strategic preparations to attack Iran, according to a report in The New York Times. The White House has instead indicated that the first aircraft won’t be ready until at least 2024.
The request was conveyed during last week’s Israeli delegation trip led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, wherein they pressed US admin officials to get on board in implementing joint strike plans against Iran should nuclear talks in Vienna fail to advance. Gantz conveyed the request for faster tanker delivery directly to his American counterpart Lloyd Austin. The US side was seen as putting the brakes on Israel’s desire to go straight to a military option.
Gantz was informed that the planes, which total eight Boeing-made KC-46 tankers worth an estimated $2.4 billion, are currently on back-order. But the NY Times report noted the Pentagon is looking into speeding up the process.
Currently Israel’s Boeing 707 tankers are over 50 years old, but the new fleet of KC-46’s would provide its air force much greater range. As the Times underscores, “The ability to refuel is critical — otherwise Israeli planes would have to depend on the aging tankers or land in the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. Both countries are rivals of Iran, but neither wants to be implicated in assisting an attack.”
The White House’s reluctance to speed up delivery is being perceived as part of overall resistance to Israel’s current urgings to initiate joint strike preparations targeting Iranian sites. While Tel Aviv has lately pressed that the US abandon the Vienna dialogue altogether, Biden is still holding out for a restored JCPOA nuclear deal. The US has reportedly also warned Iran against ‘acting alone’ in a military strike.
The NY Times report detailed that “Mr. Bennett, Israeli officials say, created a substantial budget for exercises to rehearse an aerial attack and argued that any effort to restore the nuclear agreement would lead to a flawed deal that would allow Iran to speed ahead toward making a bomb.”
On Wednesday an Iranian state-linked newspaper published a “target list” of Israeli sites (though it apparently included locations in the West Bank and south Lebanon as well)…
Iranian daily Tehran Times has published a map detailing the ‘bank of targets’ of a potential attack by the Islamic Republic on the occupying state of Israel.
Over the past week, Iranian and Israeli officials have exchanged threats of attacks and counter attacks. pic.twitter.com/QJm05CuEey
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) December 15, 2021
The report also emphasizes that it’s the American taxpayer that will foot the bill, as the tankers will be paid for by the US annual military aid package to Israel. As it stands, the United States gives Israel a whipping $3.8 billion in military aid each year.
Wed, 12/15/2021 – 22:00