I'm not certain the US doing itself a favor with this deal via The Weekly Standard Saudi Arabia May Receive $90 Billion in U.S. Arms (although pay attention who gets the contracts on these systems, these are Chicagoans in DC). Irfan al-Alawi and my favorite Sufi Stephen Schwartz wrote,
And then my favorite Socialist Bernard Kouchner repeats the obvious yesterday,
On Monday, September 13, the Associated Press and other media outlets reported that the Obama administration will ask Congress for approval to sell Saudi Arabia up to $60 billion worth of high-tech fighter aircraft and helicopters, with an option of $30 billion in naval armaments to follow. Because of the Iranian threat, the deal is expected to be approved, since it will give the Saudis military striking capacity across the Gulf region.
If consummated, the sale comes at a moment when Saudi society is in flux, facing heightened contradictions. Saudi king Abdullah, who has made various attempts at social and political reform, remains isolated and opposed by many of his retrogressive family members and the official Wahhabi clerics. Many of the young are turning away visibly from the authority of the monarchy and the clerics. The majority of Saudi citizens are fearful that the 86-year-old king will die soon. Abdullah could be replaced by his designated successor and half-brother Crown Prince Sultan, who is also in his 80s and ill, and then by Prince Nayef, the most rigid and anti-Western of the heirs to Ibn Sa’ud, founder of the modern Saudi state.
Nayef, who is in his late 70s, is the protector of the Wahhabi clerics and was the first Saudi leader to declare that 9/11 was a Zionist conspiracy. In such hands, American-provided arms could, by the law of unintended consequences, end up turned in a more dangerous direction.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010After Nov 2010 the Obama administration will all be about Foreign Policy by choice and necessity.
PARIS: Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar is based in Pakistan and everyone knows it, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner claimed Tuesday, calling on Islamabad to do more to help end the conflict.
"It's not a secret for anyone, everyone knows that Mullah Omar is in Quetta, if he's not now in Karachi," Kouchner told French lawmakers.
"Taliban leaders have been given shelter in Pakistan. I'm not revealing anything," Kouchner said, telling parliament's foreign relations committee why Afghanistan has called on Pakistan to help negotiate a peace deal.
It's not going to be easy.