THE SAUDI ARMS DEAL....
I've only been following the recently announced Saudi arms deal with half an eye and don't really have a strong opinion about it. However, William Arkin's rundown of the deal today sure sounds about right:
There isn't one weapon in the package that will enhance American interests or security or Saudi security, for that matter and there certainly isn't one that threatens Israel....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. These toys are really for the battalions of princes to play with.
....Want early warning of what will happen? Despite congressional opposition, Saudi Arabia will get its arms: the money is just too much and the lobbying will just be too intense. Israel will voice its concern but basically accept the deal; it knows fundamentally that there is no Saudi airplane that threatens it. The Saudis will pledge to rein in extremists supporting the insurgency and terror in Iraq, then basicallly do nothing. And Iran will protest (in fact, it already has), to no avail. Tehran, of course, needn't worry either, although American domination of the arms supply will solidify the American empire in the region, at least militarily.
....American contractors will train, maintain and even operate the new Saudi equipment. American military personnel will follow. 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 Osama bin Laden's original and most compelling rallying points. That's why the Saudi deal is so dangerous.