Israel gave Russia a farming drone and pissed-off Uncle Sugar, Spain, assorted military bureaucrats


Or would you rather have a cow?

❝ Never look a gift horse in the mouth, or so the saying goes. And it probably should have applied to the following laborious and comical international incident concerning a drone and Israel, Russia, and the United States.

❝ Uri Ariel, Israel’s agriculture minister, decided to give a $51,000 agricultural research drone to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on his recent visit to Israel’s Volcani agricultural research institute. “What a pleasant gesture,” you might be thinking, as the world creeps ever closer to an era where drone technology is used as international diplomatic currency.

But no. It turns out that the drone Medvedev took a liking to last week at Israel’s agriculture center may have contained US-manufactured components, and it certainly wasn’t Ariel’s to give. Researchers at Volcani were reportedly very disgruntled by Ariel’s autarchic decision — they claimed their entire research program had been compromised. Moreover, if the drone did indeed contain sensitive US-made technology, relations between the US, Israel, and Russia could be damaged…

❝ It turns out, this Israeli drone was actually manufactured by Alpha Unmanned Systems, according to the Jerusalem Post, a drone manufacturer based in Spain. The camera that Alpha Unmanned Systems had allegedly used on the drone was manufactured by US company Flir — famous for its infrared technologies. Did Alpha Unmanned Systems even have a license to use US-made Flir technology on a drone, which was then given to Israel, which subsequently ended up in Russian hands despite Putin’s existence on the short end of a NATO arms embargo?…

❝ A report…from Haaretz, though, cites an anonymous official in Jerusalem who’s saying that US embassy diplomats are now asking for clarification about the drone, and want to ensure it doesn’t contain any US technology.

The official said, “the “drone affair” has caused Israel significant diplomatic embarrassment with the Americans…”

To be continued…

I expect a made-for-TV movie for next years’s summer season on FOX. Who knows. Might become a series like Fargo?

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