The United States is considering selling 100 GBU-28 guided “bunker buster” bombs to Israel, raising concerns about a unilateral Israeli attack against Iran.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees military aid to foreign states, notified the Congress of the proposed $30 million deal.
Once notified, Congress has 30 days to refuse proposed foreign military sales but rarely does so.
The U.S.-made, one-tonne GBU-28 "bunker buster" bombs can penetrate deep into the earth or right through a dozen feet of reinforced concrete before exploding, raising fears that Israel can use them to strike Iran’s underground nuclear sites.
The DSCA said that the bombs will be used by the Israeli air force on its U.S.-made F-15 aircraft.
The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the U.S. by helping to improve the security of a "friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for economic progress in the Middle East", the DSCA said.
The agency also claimed that the proposed sale “will not affect the basic military balance in the region.”
Israel, which is believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed country, wants to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Tehran denies that it is using its nuclear program for hostile designs, saying that it is mainly aimed at the peaceful generation of electricity.
In 1981, Israel sent jets to attack an Iraqi reactor. Analysts say that a military strike against the Islamic Republic, especially by Israel, could choke any chance of a diplomatic resolution or efforts regarding Iran’s nukes issue.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that his country doesn’t plan to attack Iran. But Vice President Dick Cheney warned that Israel could in the future try to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
‘A provocative step’
John Isaacs, president of the Council for a Livable World, said the sale was clearly “a provocative step” that would raise fears about a unilateral Israeli strike, particularly in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.
“One could be suspicious that these bombs could be used for an Israeli attack on Iran,” Isaacs said.
Loren Thompson at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute agreed, saying that “This particular munition is designed to destroy deeply buried high-value assets such as command centers or nuclear weapons facilities.”
“Draw your own conclusions,” he said.