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The Arms Sale Orgy V: Its Not Over Until The Thin Lady Plays The Piano

July 31, 2007

Calling the now $63 billion arms deal to Israel, Saudia Arabia and Egypt a `source of stability and peace’ in the Middle East, Under Secretary of State Nicolas Burns defended the deals as necessary to counter Iran’s regional influence. As Burns’ was repeating this lie in the Washington to an accepting CNN reporter, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates chimed in as a part of the same chorus at the beginning of their Middle East tour. The tour really makes for great `pretend theater’. It’s all worked out: Gates and Rice can pretend that there is this imminent Iranian threat to Riyadh, Tel Aviv, London, New York and Colorado Springs. It’s gotta be an IMMINENT threat or it doesn’t count! Weapons sales go up proportionately when `imminence’ is suspected. In response, the Saudis and others can pretend that the threat is genuine and that the anti-Iranian front actually still exists once Gates and Rice leave the room so as not to unduly embarrass them.

A new detail that emerged today is that the $63 billion deal does not include any arrangements that are yet to be made with other Gulf countries with Bahrein, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These countries are targeted (so to speak) by the Bush Administration for billion-dollar arms purchases as well. No one is talking yet about possible deals with Jordan or Turkey both key regional allies. Turkey needs to be bought off to keep it from attacking northern Iraq. Perhaps the latest Turks provocations and bellicost language towards Iraq’s Kurds was simply its way of pressuring Washington into some sweeter arms deal? Let’s see if it works. It’s just not fair to give Israel $30 billion, the Saudi’s 20 billion, Eygpt $13 billion and poor Turkey nada. I mean common decency and proper arms deal etiquette almost demands a token deal of at least $5 billion, which the Turks, being tough negotiators, should be able to least double, as the Saudi’s did.

Then there’s Jordan, currently flooded with a good many of the 4 million refugees from Iraq – the world’s largest refugee and humanitarian crisis at present – that the US media is downplaying. How many more billions will be shelled out to keep those allies in line?

The implication emerging is that what was first marketed as a $20 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia could be, when all the rockets are unleashed, a $75 billion or $100 billion deal after all the checks are cashed. Maybe more, if you consider spare parts and maintenance over 10 years. We’ll know more as the Gates-Rice trip proceeds. As the saying goes…it’s not over until the thin lady plays the piano.

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