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Weapons of mass consequence

August 3, 2007

Rogers on US-Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian-Omani-Kuwaiti-UAEer-Bahraini-and-Who-Knows-Who-Else Arms Deal

(Note: Paul Rogers is a professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University in UK. I find his columns almost always `enlightening’ and his political analysis very sharp. The piece that follows is on the political implications of the proposed huge arms deal that the US is currently crafting. A few paragraphs are below, for the entire article simply click at the end of the selection. The whole piece will come up. rp)

Paul Rogers

Note: This column appears at Open Democracy

The huge United States military deal with Arab states and Israel will benefit domestic friends and overseas adversaries. 3 – 08 – 2007

The United States’ plan to provide its Arab allies and Israel with military aid, announced on 31 July 2007, is large-scale by any standards. It includes the provision of $20 billion-worth of precision-guided bombs, aircraft upgrades, new warships and other equipment to Saudi Arabia; $13 billion-worth of military supplies to Egypt; and smaller quantities of arms to other close allies such as Kuwait and Oman. The biggest transaction of all involves Israel, whose $30 billion-worth of contracts over the 2007-17 period represents a 30% increase over the last decade.

As with most arms agreements of this magnitude – the controversial al-Yamamah deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia, currently under US investigation – is a prime example – the political as much as the commercial dimensions are significant. In this case, Washington is seeking to bolster its interests in the middle east via a delicate balancing-act: assuaging Israeli concerns over the increased sales to the country’s Arab neighbours with the scale of the bilateral deal with Tel Aviv, giving itself leverage to pressurise Riyadh over Iraq, and consolidating its alliances with friendly (or subordinate) Arab states. (for the complete article – click here)

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