Israel wants US to bolster its weapons stockpile against Iran, Hezbollah
The purchases signal Tel Aviv's preparations for a war against Lebanon or Iran
By News Desk - January 17 2022

Photo credit: US Department of Defense/Scott Wolff

The US military website Breaking Defense reported on 14 January that Israel is compiling a comprehensive list of weaponry that it seeks to ask the US to add to its inventory, in preparation for upcoming regional conflicts, particularly with Hezbollah in Lebanon, or Iran.

The report, citing anonymous defense sources, said that the highly confidential list includes aerial bombs that Israel expects will be needed for a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities or on Hezbollah rocket launching sites in Lebanon.

The US stockpile central to the exchange, known as the War Reserves Stock Allies stockpile, enables the US to “stockpile arms and equipment at Israeli bases for US use in wartime.”

This practice grew out of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, which allows war reserves to be transferred to foreign nations through arms sales or grant military assistance.

A US Congressional Research Service (CRS) report said that, beginning in 1984, the US stockpiled single-use armaments in Israel, but at the time they could not be used by the IDF.

In 1989, the terms of the reserves were amended under George H.W. Bush to allow Israel special access to weapons and to streamline them through the US foreign military sales channels in instances of “emergencies.”

An Israeli officer quoted in the report acknowledged that while the weapons belong to the US military, in cases of conflict, “the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] can ask permission to use some of the equipment.”

Citing the CRS report, the Breaking Defense article identified two instances where this practice was applied; the 2006 Israeli siege on Lebanon and the 2014 Israeli siege on Gaza.

A senior Israeli Defense Forces official also told Breaking Defense that, to Tel Aviv’s advantage, the US-owned weapons do not affect Israel’s military budget and, while Israel pays the cost of maintenance, the weapons are stored in a US-managed region of IDF bases.

In 2020, the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America (JINSA) claimed that the US stockpile in Israel was falling “dangerously short of meeting its stated purpose to support Israel’s efforts” against Hezbollah and Iran, calling on the US to resupply its inventory.

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