Jul 31 2007

Concerns Over Proposed U.S. Middle East Arms Deal

Feature Stories | Published 31 Jul 2007, 9:36 am | Comments Off on Concerns Over Proposed U.S. Middle East Arms Deal -

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Rice and GatesGUESTS: William Hartung, Project Director of the New America Foundation, Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute, Retired Lieutenant General Robert Gard, Senior Military Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are currently touring Arab nations being considered in a new proposed Bush Administration arms deal. Saudi Arabia, alongside five other Gulf nations, could receive up to twenty billion dollars worth of advanced weapons including satellite-guided bombs, fighter aircraft upgrades, and naval vessels. The deal is pending approval from Congress. Before embarking on her four day trip to the Middle East, Secretary Rice claimed that the proposed arms deal would stabilize Iraq and the Persian Gulf region. She also said that the arms package would counter the influence of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Iran swiftly condemned the deal saying that it would foment divisions and create an arms race. Israel, a longtime recipient of US aid, was promised over thirty billion dollars over the course of the next decade to quell its concerns about the deal. This increases aid to Israel by 43%.

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