Israel Objects to U.S. Sale of Advanced Weaponry to Regional Rivals

[New York Times] David S. Cloud and Helene Cooper - A major arms-sale package that the Bush administration is planning to offer Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies to deter Iran has been delayed because of objections from Israel, which says that the advanced weaponry would erode its military advantage over its regional rivals, according to senior U.S. officials. Israeli officials, including the former defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, have come to Washington in recent months to argue against elements of the planned sales. In particular, the Israelis are concerned about the possible transfer of precision-guided weapons. Israel has been supplied with satellite-guided ordnance since the 1990s and used them extensively in its war against Hizbullah last summer. A senior administration official said, "The Israelis understand that it's in our interest and their interest" that the U.S. try to shore up military systems for Sunni Arab allies. But Israel is also concerned that the Bush administration's ambitions for an American-Israeli-Sunni coalition allied against Iran may never materialize, or that there could be a revolution in Saudi Arabia that would leave the mostly American-made Saudi arsenal in the hands of militant Islamists.

2007-04-05 01:00:00

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