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The Republic Of Croatia Makes Its Largest Military Purchase Ever
In an obvious 1-up to neighboring Serbia, Croatia purchases 12 F-16 fighter jets from Israel for 3 billion kuna.
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, struck up a deal for the largest Croatian military purchase to date this past January while in Davos for the World Economic Forum: twelve used F-16 fighter jets with a price tag of roughly 3 billion kuna, or $500 million dollars.
The Prime Minister of Israel has stated that the deal will go a long way in building upon the existing ties between Croatia and Israel. He also said that the deal will prove to the world, yet again, that the Israeli Defense Industry is the finest on the globe.
Damir Krsticevic, Croatian Defense Minister views the deal as an important historical event. Not only because it is the largest deal of its kind for Croatia since the days of Yugoslavia, but also that a clear investment to the Croatian air force has been made for all the world to see - specifically the neighboring Republic of Serbia.
The two nations have a rich history of turmoil dating back several decades. The most recent and perhaps most destructive conflict fought between Croatia and Serbia took place in the early and mid-'90s. The war not only ended with the Republic of Croatia being recognized legally as an independent nation but also resulted in the dissolution of ex-Yugoslavia and Europe's then third largest military force, the Yugoslavian Army.
Serbia, an ally of Russia, recently obtained half a dozen MiG-29 fighter aircraft from the ex-Soviet Union. It would not be any real stretch of the imagination then to deduce that Croatia's deal with Israel for a full dozen F-16 fighter aircraft could be seen as a direct response and "1-up" to Serbia and the upgrading of its air force.
The deal between Croatia and Israel is not strictly for the fighter jets themselves. It will also include equipping Croatian air bases for the use of said craft, flight simulators, the armament of the crafts and pilot training to take place in Israel. The total amount of the massive purchase will be paid to Israel over the next 10 years in annual installments. It is the largest military purchase that the country has ever made since becoming an independent nation back in the 1990's.
The majority of Croatians I have spoken to about the recent purchase from Israel have only shaken their heads in disapproval, basically viewing this action as needless spending on the behalf of the government. It is clear that they do not view Serbia as a threat.
As an American who is married to a Croatian, with family ties to Serbia, I find it utterly ridiculous that this purely political puppet show is again threatening the peace between these two nations whose people truly have very little differences.
When will a political truce happen between Croatia and Serbia? The day the Western world sits down at the same table with Russia to share a dinner in peace.
Historical resonance of the Croatia-Serbia spat