U.S. to Sell $60 Billion in Arms to Saudi Arabia
October 21, 2010
(ChattahBox news) – Congress was notified on Wednesday that the Obama administration plans to sell up to $60 billion in advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia. The event would mark the largest single US arms deals in history and is aimed at countering the rising influence of Iran.
According to the Telegraph.co.uk, State Department and Pentagon officials told lawmakers that the deal would include 84 new F-15 fighter jets, upgrades to 70 existing Saudi F-15’s 190 helicopters, and a myriad of missiles, bombs, delivery systems, night-vision goggles, and radar warning systems. First revealed in September, the plan has been in the works since and is designed to strengthen the defense of long time US ally Saudi Arabia and counter Iranian influence and power within the Persian Gulf.
The deal was announced by secretary of state for political and military affairs Andrew Shapiro. He stated that the move would hold tremendous significance from a strategic regional perspective and that it would “send a strong message to countries in the region that we are committed to support the security of our key partners and allies in the Arabian Gulf and broader Middle East.”
Shapiro also stated that it would “enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against threats to its borders and its oil infrastructure, which is critical to our economic interests.”
Congress has 30 days to block the deal, but experts believe that it won’t draw too much opposition despite concerns from lawmakers that it might have an effect on Israel’s security. Israeli officials have previously said that they were not thrilled with the sales, but would not attempt to prevent them.
The vehicles and upgrades being provided to Saudi Arabia would better fortify their defenses and make the Saudi Air Force more compatible with the US and other Gulf allies. The helicopters being provided will also give Saudi Arabia greater ability to protect their borders as well as other military structures and facilities.