Why is the USA selling weapons to potential Saudi suicide attackers?
The more I think about our latest plan to sell piles of weapons to Middle Eastern countries, the more perplexed and alarmed I get. I can see any number of down sides to this, and no up sides, I’m honestly having a little trouble understanding the justification for it. How is sending even more weapons to a region already awash in weapons going to help?
The 20 billion dollars worth to Saudi Arabia is particularly alarming. Why are we selling modern weapons to Saudi Arabia? What have they ever done for us? Most of the 911 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Something like 75% of the foreign fighters entering Iraq are crossing over from the poorly controlled Saudi border. 40% of the foreign fighters in Iraq are Saudis nationals, they are in fact the major component of foreign fighters in Iraq. The princes running this medieval theocracy (Saudi Arabia makes Iran look like a poster child for democracy and human rights) are getting rich beyond most Americans dreams on hard earned American dollars. And many of those dollars are now funding the insurgency in Iraq. And we’re rewarding them?
The purported justification for this arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States is that they need these weapons to defend themselves against the threat posed by Iran. Let’s look at a few facts here. Saudi Arabia’s defense budget is about 25 billion US$ per year. Iran’s defense budget is about 6.5 billion US$ per year. So Saudi Arabia is already spending more than three times annually what Iran spends on defense. And this doesn’t even count the defense budgets of the other gulf states, which amounts to many more billions per year. So can someone explain to me why nations who are already outspending the nation “threatening” them by four to one need even more weapons to “defend” themselves?
Some analysts have concluded that this arms deal is to compensate the Saudis and other gulf states for the mess we have made in Iraq. It’s also a great boon to America’s already bloated arms industry, I have to wonder if that also figured into this decision. I can’t find a single article by anyone claiming that this arms deal is going to help stabilize the region, the other claimed justification for this arms deal. I can find plenty of analysts who say this is “Christmas in July” for the American arms industry. In fact arming nations to stabilize them hasn’t been a terribly effective strategy when one recalls that Iraq and Iran were both heavily armed by the United States in decades past. And let’s not mention the huge numbers of weapons supplied to the current Iraqi government that are unaccounted for.
It’s also been pointed out that there is every reason to believe that Al-Qaeda has deeply penetrated the Saudi military. Yes, you read that right. So we may very well be putting sophisticated modern military aircraft into the hands of people who will use them as suicide weapons against Israeli or US installations. Again: fifteen of the nineteen 911 attackers were from Saudi Arabia. Some of their friends and relatives are more than likely flying modern military jets that we supplied the Saudi Air Force. Just waiting for the word from Osama. So at least one thing is clear, there’s no need to wonder what Al-Qaeda and Osama think of the arms sale to Saudi Arabia, it can be summed up in one word: “Thanks!”
(The above modified low resolution image of a Royal Saudi Air Force F-5 is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and it is central to illustrating the post. Credit: Copyright ©2000-2007, Flying Yard)