Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MOST Disturbing

St. Petersburg Times

Page one:

Page four:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - President Bush delivered a sophisticated weapons sale for Saudi Arabia on Monday, trying to bolster its defenses and muster support for a Mideast peace agreement.

On a surprisingly cold day with blustery winds, Bush received a warm embrace from King Abdullah, whose family wields almost absolute rule. Among ordinary Saudis and across much of the Mideast, Bush is unpopular, particularly because of the Iraq war and U.S. support for Israel. Bush and Abdullah were going to some lengths over two days to emphasize their strong personal ties.

Saudi Arabia holds the world's largest oil reserves, and surging fuel costs are putting a major strain on the U.S. economy. But White House officials said it was unclear whether Bush raised the subject with the king. The issue has come up in earlier stops on Bush's eight-day trip that ends Wednesday in Egypt, largely in the context of his quest for alternate fuels and sources of energy, the officials said.

White House counselor Ed Gillespie said Mideast leaders have "talked about the nature of the market and the vast demand that's on the world market today for oil." He said that was "a legitimate and accurate point."

In a show of hospitality, the king invited Bush to come today to his lavish horse farm. The visit, including an overnight by Bush, is a payback for the president hosting Abdullah at his ranch.

Coinciding with Bush's arrival, the administration officially notified Congress it will offer Saudi Arabia sophisticated Joint Direct Attack Munitions - or "smart bomb" - technology and related equipment. The deal envisions the transfer of 900 of the precision-guided bomb kits, worth $123-million, that would give Saudi forces highly accurate targeting abilities.

Some lawmakers fear the systems could be used against Israel, but Congress appears unlikely to block the deal because of Saudi Arabia's cooperation in the war on terror and in deterring aggression from Iran.

The White House already has notified Congress of five other packages to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, including Patriot missiles. The total amount of sales as part of the Gulf Security Dialogue is estimated at $20-billion, a figure subject to actual purchases.

The sales are a key element in Bush's strategy to shore up defenses against Iran, which the president has deemed the world's top state sponsor of terrorism.

On Mideast peace, Saudi Arabia handed Bush a coup by taking part in the U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md., in November. Bush was expected to encourage Saudi Arabia during his visit to use some of its vast wealth to help struggling Palestinians build the foundations of a future state.
Fast facts:

Weapons sales

The Bush administration announced its intention on Monday to sell $123-million worth of sophisticated, precision-guided bomb technology to Saudi Arabia as part of a $20-billion arms package to the country and its Persian Gulf neighbors, including:

-A total of $9.8-billion to the United Arab Emirates for a Patriot missile system, "various munitions and weapon systems," and upgrades and refurbishment of E-2C early warning aircraft.

-A total of $1.7-billion to Kuwait for precision missiles, missile upgrades and upgrades to its Patriot missile ground support system.

-A total of $743-million to Saudi Arabia for Joint Direct Attack Munitions, AWACS aircraft upgrades, sniper target pods and associated equipment and services.

Associated Press


At 5:49 AM, Blogger alan said...

Lots of stuff about this on NPR yesterday...

Of course it will all be paid for when we write off their debt, like the stuff we gave Egypt a few years ago.

33 years ago I was on board the USS Kittyhawk when they flew the Shah aboard to sign an arms deal that sold him the F-14's that Iran was trying to get parts for a few months ago when we decomissioned them. They weren't even active in our fleet yet...

Of course, there were all the things we helped Saddam with, and then there's that guy in Pakistan right now...probably the next one we'll have to go after because he won't do our bidding anymore...


At 4:43 PM, Blogger CrackerLilo said...

That cover is like a game--count all the weird and disturbing stuff.

Did you ever think you'd live long enough to read the phrase "double amputee sprinter"?!?!

I hope we live long enough to read many other phrases, despite GWB's attempts to keep that from happening!!! WORST...PRESIDENT...EVER!!!

At 5:17 PM, Blogger sttropezbutler said...

I can't even go there.



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