The Bush Administration has a solution to the escalating arms race in the Middle East: sell more arms.
Under an Administration proposal, Saudi Arabia will get $20 billion of satellite-guided bombs, fighter jet upgrades and new navy ships over ten years to counteract Iran. Israel will get $30 billion over the same period to balance Saudi Arabia, a 43 percent increase compared to the last decade. Not to be left out, Egypt will receive $13 billion. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have also been promised a piece of the pie.
In the latest US-backed arms bonanza, everyone’s a winner!
The pact with the Kingdom of Saud–home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, 45 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq and birthplace of Al Qaeda–in particular has prompted resistance inside Congress and human rights organizations.
Representatives Anthony Weiner and Jerry Nadler introduced a plan to block the deal on the steps of the Saudi consulate in New York City on Saturday. "We should remember that the high tech arms we gave to the Shah of Iran ended up in the Ayatollah Khomeini’s hands," Nadler said. "The same thing could end up happening in Saudi Arabia."
If the US withdraws from Iraq, the Saudi royal family has pledged to arm Sunni military leaders and create new Sunni militias. An advisor to the Saudi government admitted in a November op-ed that Saudi intervention in Iraq "could spark a regional war."
In other words, the weapons the US is proposing to sell to the kingdom could likely end up in the hands of the very people we are currently targeting in Iraq.
Don’t forget this picture from 1983 of a certain American official shaking hands with a certain ally-turned-dictator in Baghdad. If only Donald Rumsfeld were still around…