The Pentagon is ready to notify the U.S. Congress of a new $60 bln weapons sale to Saudi Arabia. The sale includes, among other things, a sale of advanced military aircraft including F-15 fighter jets and Apache, Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters. The deal is regarded as a record-breaking one and is supposed to counter the alleged nuclear threat from Iran by supplying conventional weapons to one of the staunchest traditional U.S. allies in the Middle East.
As most analysts point out, the deal is unlikely to meet any opposition in the Congress.
An unnamed defence official said that the deal would give Saudi Arabia a "whole host of defensive capabilities to defend the kingdom". He also added that Israel was "fairly comfortable" with the arrangement.
Meanwhile State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that the US "would do nothing that would upset the current balance of power in the region".
0If one desires to look at the whole issue more closely, the above quotation remains little more than just propaganda. While
0global community is trying hard to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program, the U.S. is actually provoking Iran to put a deaf ear to whatever words of reason are heard from the world community. Supplying enormous amounts of most modern conventional arms to Iran’s most powerful regional competitor and opponent IS really upsetting the balance of powers, and can eventually reaffirm Iran’s aspirations to acquire a counter-measure against it.
One should not at the same time forget that another Iran’s opponent in the region, Israel, is really possessing nukes although officially not acknowledging it. And that, together with the excessively growing military capacity of Saudi Arabia, makes all talks of turning Middle East into a nuke-free zone meaningless.
It looks like the U.S., which found itself too deeply involved in Iraq and Afghanistan and striving hard to get out of the mess with minimal damage to its own image, is now trying to shift the burden of ‘peacekeeping’ from its own shoulders to its allies. But who can guarantee the responsibility of these allies once they feel that they are capable of acting on their own?
Apart from a growing confrontation between Iran on the one hand, and its opponents and U.S. allies, on the other, there is a much more dangerous prospect arising from increasing arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It seems that the U.S. has learned nothing from a lesson that dates back to the 1980-ies.
At that time the Soviet army was fighting with mojaheds in Afghanistan. The mojaheds were receiving overt and covert support from the entire Western world. One of the militant groups created by the West was ‘Al Qaeda’ headed by a Saudi national Osama bin Laden and comprising of an unstructured score of foreign militants and mercenaries fighting the Soviets, receiving all possible support from their Western patrons and regarded as a “base” (which is a literal translation of Arabic “Qaeda”) against communism.
What this support eventually led to is too well known. Today, Osama bin Laden is declared the most wanted criminal by the country that created him as a prominent militant figure 30 years ago. And “Al Qaeda” has grown from just a database of foreign mercenaries fighting in Afghanistan into a global network of most dreadful terrorist ready to strike wherever and whenever they wish.
Now, the U.S. is really going to make the same mistake it made in the 1980-ies. Providing one of the parties involved in a confrontation in such a volatile region as the Middle East with excessive amounts of arms is a threat in itself. But who knows in what direction these arms will be pointed if the geostrategic situation changes? And who in the near future will gather the stones cast so flippantly now? It is not a secret that at least some circles in the Saudi establishment have close ties with terrorist organizations all round the globe, even if we cannot ascribe it to the state policy.
0As some calculations show, the proposed U.S. – Saudi arms deal
0would benefit defense manufacturers in 44 U.S. states and help to protect 77,000 jobs. The 9-11 terrorist attacks cost more than 3,000 lives. But are the figures really comparable?