Feature

How they see us: Arming the Saudis against Iran

To contain Iran's ambitions, weaponry worth billions of dollars is being sold to Saudi Arabia and other friendly Gulf states, including Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia’s plan to purchase $60 billion in weaponry from the U.S. is “highly prudent and responsible,” said Riyadh’s Arab News. In an atmosphere of “continuing regional instability”—including the lack of a functioning government in Iraq—Saudi Arabia must “defend the Kingdom and its oil reserves from regional threats.” That’s what the 84 F-15 fighter jets and nearly 200 Apache, Black Hawk, and Little Bird helicopters will enable us to do. Of course, we expect “that the Zionist lobby in Washington will seek to block the deal in Congress, claiming it threatens Israel.” But U.S. legislators won’t listen. They know that filling this huge order will guarantee up to 75,000 American jobs.

Actually, Israelis have “privately blessed the sale,” said D. Bloomfield in The Jerusalem Post. That’s partly because Israelis, along with Americans, will reap economic rewards from the arms deal. Israeli defense firms make “key components” of the F-15 and stand to earn tens of millions of dollars. But “lucrative contracts” aren’t the only reason for Israeli support. While Saudi Arabia is still technically at war with Israel, in practice Israel no longer views it as a threat “but as an ally against their mutual enemy, Iran.” That’s not to say that the Saudis will take it upon themselves to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. “They’re still praying five times a day that Israel will do that job for them,” at which point they will “run off to the United Nations to condemn the Zionist aggressors.”

The Saudis aren’t the only ones in the neighborhood being armed by the U.S., said Jonathan Manthorpe in The Vancouver Sun. Another $40 billion will go to beef up air forces and missile systems in other friendly Gulf states, including Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. And the Saudis are still in line for an additional $30 billion in warships. The Americans won’t openly state their “justification for this colossal sale of firepower to governments with less-than-glorious records of behavior,” but off the record, U.S. officials admit that the goal is to “contain Iran’s ambitions to be the dominant player in the Mideast sandpit.” The Americans want to exploit the tensions between Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as guardian of the Sunni Muslim faith, and Iran, “cradle of the Shiite Muslim sect.” But further arming the Saudis will only stoke Iran’s attempts to obtain an unconventional arsenal. Saudi Arabia already has 453 air-based weapons, compared with Iran’s 84. “No wonder Tehran fancies getting nuclear weapons.”

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