Weekend Edition, August 4 / 5, 2007
Bribe, Divide and Conquer
By RANNIE AMIRI
Sometimes a foreign policy gambit is anticipated to be so successful there is no need to keep it secret. In fact, it can be made public. Such was the case when the United States announced multi-billion dollar military assistance packages to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt this week. Lest anyone think the United States plan for the greater Middle East has failed, this arms deal makes it clear just how much of the region is firmly under their control. And thanks to venal Arab regimes, it has been a task made easy.
The proposal would provide Saudi Arabia and the five other nations comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and United Arab Emirates) with $20 billion worth of arms over the next ten years while upgrading their existing military equipment. Not to be outdone (and to make sure it gets through Congress), Israel will be guaranteed $30 billion over the next decade, a full 25% increase in the amount they normally receive. Egypt will also garner $13 billion. According to Secretaries Rice and Gates, one reason for the aid packages will be to bolster Sunni Arab governments to counter Iran’s perceived expanding influence. Before embarking on a tour to the area, they claimed mobilizing support for the current Iraqi leadership among these countries will be an additional priority.