Tuesday, July 31, 2007

American arms deals in the Middle East

The U.S sealed a multi-billion dollar arms deal with their Middle East allies these few days ago. Now I know the aim was to contain Iran's influence in the region, but even Americans have to admit the arm deals are just strange.

The United States announced new military pacts worth 20 billion dollars for Saudi Arabia, 13 billion dollars for Egypt and 30 billion for Israel. A lot have been foucsed on the Saudi deal. The deal was announed even though a lot of people believed the Saudis are part of the problem in Iraq. That did not deter the U.S selling them new missile defenses, early warning systems, air power and naval systems.

What I'm truly surprised at is the deal with Israel. The pact with Israel is 30 billion over 10 years (3 billion a year), and it is all in AID! This means that the U.S is virtually giving money and arms away for free. Now I know Washington want to maintain the military and strategic balance within the region, but what is the U.S getting from this deal? Israel is already a firm U.S ally, so why give away your arms? At least the Saudis and Egyptians are paying you for these weapons, why not charge Israel also? It's not like they don't have the money to pay for these weapons.

As a Singaporean, I find it hard to understand why the U.S (or anyone) can just give away money and arms like this. No matter how I looked at it, it seems like a terrible deal for the Americans. It may please the lobby in Washington but what are the Americans getting out of this? The Saudi deal will move the Saudis closer to the U.S, but the Israel deal is just...I just don't understand it.

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