noworldsystem.com


George Bush to push $20bn Saudi arms deal

George Bush to push $20bn Saudi arms deal

Telegraph
January 14, 2008

US president George W. Bush is to promise $20 billion in advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia as he travels through the Gulf states to garner support for further sanctions against Iran.

Yet even that gesture will not be enough to convince moderate Arab states to shun Iran, in a sign of its growing status as a Muslim world superpower.

Fbiiraqisbein_mn

The weapons deal, which is to include precision-guided missiles, first surfaced last autumn but was postponed over opposition in the US Congress.

Now the Bush administration is to notify Congress on Monday of its intent to conclude the deal, as Mr Bush lands in Riyadh.

The deal comes as America’s top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, revealed that attacks in Iraq linked to Iranian explosive devices had sharply increased in recent days.

He said violence caused by “explosively formed projectiles” was up by a factor of two or three in recent days.

“Frankly, we are trying to determine why that might be,” he said.

Speaking while visiting US troops in Kuwait, Mr Bush singled out Iran and Syria for their involvement in attacks in Iraq.

He said Syria “needs to further reduce the flow of terrorists, especially suicide bombers” while Iran had to stop supporting the militia groups that attacked Iraqi and coalition forces, and kidnapped and killed Iraqi officials.

“Iran’s role in fomenting violence has been exposed – Iranian agents are in our custody, and we are learning more about how Iran has supported extremist groups with training and lethal aid,” he said.

However, Arab diplomats warn that even the most loyal US allies face rising Islamist sympathies in their own countries and a concerted effort by Teheran to boost diplomatic and trade links with its near neighbours.

The Gulf states’ mostly pro-western rulers recognise the danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose, but are reluctant to risk infuriating its fundamentalist regime, or be seen siding with Israel in the dispute over Teheran’s nuclear programme.

“We know Iran is a threat,” said one Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is by no means a friendly country to the Arab world. But President Bush has to give us something to be in this camp of so-called moderation.”

Riad Kahwaji, director of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said Mr Bush “will have to sell himself as the real superpower, with a real vision,” in order to regain influence lost over the last few years.

“Nobody in the region here is happy about what Iran is doing,” he said.

“But at the same time nobody is willing to put his neck out for the Americans.”

The Gulf states, which face Iran across the stretch of water through which much of the world’s oil is shipped, are ruled by Sunni Muslim governments, but Iran’s religious Shia regime is widely seen as the guardian of the millions of Shia who also live in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon – the so-called “Shia crescent”.

Now Teheran is enjoying a thawing in relations in the region as the Sunni-ruled states adjust to life in the shadow of an increasingly powerful Iran.

The Iranian regime has trading relationships worth £10bn a year with its neighbours and appears to be pushing to strengthen those ties.

There is also growing tolerance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, who was last month formally invited by Saudi Arabia – a key US ally – to attend the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

Saudi’s foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, said last week that relations with Iran would continue regardless of US demands.

“We have relations with Iran and we talk with them, and if we felt any danger we have links… that allow us to talk about it,” he said. “So we welcome any issue the president raises, and we will discuss them from our point of view.”

Read Full Article Here

 


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: