Why the Saudi Arms Deal Is So Dangerous

[Washington Post] William M. Arkin - The political debate that has begun over the Bush administration's recently announced $20 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Mideast nations is missing the point. The real threat is the army of contractors and U.S. service members that will have to go to Saudi Arabia to support the deal. They will just fuel more Arab anger and more terrorism. The Saudi military is even less dangerous than the gang who couldn't shoot straight. After gazillions in arms sales during the heyday of oil, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia demonstrated that it wasn't capable, even with its advanced American-supplied military, of defending its country. When Desert Storm unfolded in 1991, Saudi ground forces were given a sector to operate in where they wouldn't get in the way. The Saudi monarchy has methodically focused its military on pomp and equipment and spiffy uniforms, ensuring that it not acquire any real offensive capacity or the ability to operate as a coherent force. It does not want a competent, independent military contemplating a coup. We will buy nothing in terms of security, and we will just put our own people in danger. But most important, we will once again renew the cycle of American penetration into the heart of Islam, one of bin Laden's original and most compelling rallying points. That's why the Saudi deal is so dangerous.

2007-08-01 01:00:00

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