Is The US Arming Saudi-Arabia For A Proxy War Against Iran?
On Monday, the Obama administration discretely announced a plan to sale $ 60 Billion worth of sophisticated weapon systems to the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia. A deal of this scope would have being politically impossible just a few years ago both domestically and internationally. Domestically, the relationship between the US and the Saudis went into a cooling period, at least officially, once the American public found out that a majority of the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were Saudis. Internationally, such a deal would have created a major diplomatic crisis with Israel.
Earlier this week, a senior defense official said that the Obama administration would formally notify Congress this week or next week, about the ground breaking deal which is the largest ever between the US and the Kingdom. The Obama administration will authorize Saudi-Arabia to buy 84 new F-15 fighter jets and upgrade 70 more. Also in the package are three types of helicopters: 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds. The package will include HARM anti-radar missiles and other precision guided missiles as well.Furthermore, the Obama administration is planning to sell to Saudi-Arabia weapon systems and ships to upgrade the Kingdom’s naval forces.
A few year ago, the arms deal with the Saudis would have provoked an uproar in Israel. However, according to Doug Bloomfield, a former legislative director of AIPAC, “The Israeli government and AIPAC have already signed off on the deal”.
The industrial-military complex, with its big defense contractors and countless subcontractors has an unstoppable momentum. Because so many members of Congress are from states and districts where the deal could help create up to 75,000 jobs, it would be naive to expect even a minority of Congressmen to oppose the deal. So this is the economic aspect of the deal, but the geopolitical perspective is perhaps more critical.
The geopolitical calculation is based on the belief, shared in Washington and Jerusalem, that arming the Saudis to the teeth is the best way to counterbalance what is viewed as Iran’s ambitions in the region. And even so the package is not quite big enough to allow the Saudis to attack Iran, it would be an helpful asset to have in the region in the case of an Israeli attack (approved by Washington) on the Islamic Republic. But one can not help having a sense of Deja Vu between this move from the Obama administration ( making Saudi-Arabia its key military ally in the region) and the one made by the Reagan administration with picking Saddam Hussein as its “go to guy” against Iran in the region.
This week the industrial-military complex had even more reason to celebrate. The United States is the number one dealer of weapons around the world with more than 39 percent of the world’s market. Despite its closeness to every US administrations in the past 80 years- from FDR to Obama- the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia is one of the most repressive and undemocratic dictatorships in the world.