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Bush Admin Unveiled $60-Billion .. Arms for Islamist Nations

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:02 pm    Post subject: Bush Admin Unveiled $60-Billion .. Arms for Islamist Nations Reply with quote

washingtonpost wrote:
A New Mideast Military Alliance?


The United States has now officially unveiled its $60-billion-plus arms package for the Middle East. The arms increasingly look like the sweeteners for a new and more formalized American-led alliance of like-minded "moderate" regimes, a kind of Middle East version of NATO.

But does anyone really imagine Saudi Arabia using its fighter jets in sustained long-range attacks? Can anyone see Egypt and Kuwait fighting side-by-side in a land war against Iran?

I didn't think so. The reality, and the problem, is that this deal paints a picture of an American Empire -- a military alliance of like-minded Arab states, a permanent U.S. military presence in the region, a focus on a monolithic enemy (Iran) -- while ignoring the roots of instability that exist in countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The Bush administration officially unveiled its $20 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia and the five other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates yesterday, along with a 10-year, $43 billion military aid package for Israel and Egypt.

In describing the arms package, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.S. hoped to increase the "interoperability" among U.S. allies in the Middle East to confront the threat of radicalism. Interoperability is a Pentagon-invented buzzword that means the ability of different militaries to operate and communicate together. It is also a word that gives away the formality of what the Bush administration is attempting to build.

The new alliance, we are told, will "counter" Iran's supposed growing influence and strength in the region. "There isn't a doubt that Iran constitutes the single most important ... strategic challenge to the United States and to the kind of the Middle East that we want to see," Rice said yesterday.

Iran "supports everything that the rest of the world is trying to defend against," Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, told The Post.

The Israeli government says it has no objections to the arms sales, evidently so mesmerized by this new Middle East alliance against Iran -- Israel's No. 1 strategic enemy -- that it is unable to see the long-term implications of what a new alliance symbolizes to the Arab street: an American Empire.

Iran may be a problem, but building a military alliance to counter it only makes the problem worse. Focusing our moderate allies on conventional war-making and military pomp diverts their attention from the domestic political troubles and internal dissatisfactions that are at the root of their own instability. Even more, it accentuates those dissatisfactions by signaling to the conspiracy-minded and agnostics that the United States is in command.

Rice spoke yesterday of ensuring accountability in the provision of arms, of not shifting the "military balance" between the parties of the region. "This effort will help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran," she said.

And that broader strategy is ... what exactly?

"We are working with these states to give a chance to the forces of moderation and reform," Rice said.

I'm all for that. But how does a mountain of military equipment help reform? Are we just heading for a replay of late 1970's Iran, where we supply arms and support the "moderate" and even autocratic oil-selling, cappuccino-swilling, pro-Western regimes while revolution and terrorism build in the background?

washingtonpost wrote:
Let Them Eat JDAMs


The Bush administration's planned $20 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, originally announced in July, is facing increasing opposition from Congress, particularly over the sale of "smart bombs."

Earlier this week, 188 members of the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Chris Carney (D-PA), wrote to President Bush to voice "serious concerns" about the sale of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (or JDAM) to Saudi Arabia unless the administration provides a "guarantee" that the bombs "will not harm U.S. forces or our democratic ally Israel."

Congress has good reason to question Saudi Arabia's long-term motives -- it remains in a formal state of war with Israel. But, in this case, Congress' criticism is misplaced. JDAM would present less of a threat to the U.S. and its allies than ground-based missiles or just straight out terrorism. Meanwhile, the sale of sophisticated precision weapons would promote greater stability and democracy.

JDAM is an air-delivered bomb guided to its target by global positioning systems (GPS) satellite data. A standard 500-, 1,000- or 2,000-lb. unguided bomb is fitted with a Boeing manufactured tail kit that "steers" the weapon to pre-set coordinates on the ground. In use in Iraq and Afghanistan, JDAM has demonstrated "near precision" accuracy.

Of course, some might worry that precision weapons would allow Saudi Arabia to better target sites within Israel. But JDAM is still a gravity bomb and, therefore, requires that the delivering aircraft overfly its target. So, before the Saudi Air Force could attack Israel, its American-made F-15s would have to penetrate Israeli air defenses. JDAM would not facilitate that difficult task in any way.

More likely, it would be Chinese ballistic missiles, long-range multiple-rocket launchers and various naval weapons that would be used in an attack on Israel. These weapons could be employed without the complications of a complex air mission. And they're already in Saudi Arabia's arsenal.

On the other hand, JDAM could be a force for good. Delivering precision weapons requires serious training. The Saudi pilots involved would have to spend significant time with U.S. and European flying and training units. And they would be assisted by U.S. and European military officers and contractors in the day-to-day maintenance of their capabilities. If there is anything to the theory about the democratizing impact of military exchanges, it would more likely be realized with JDAM than with M-16s or tanks.

Moreover, precision weapons mark the intellectual dividing point between brute force warfare and "modern" warfare. They force strategists, commanders and pilots to think about the standards of international law and the law of armed warfare.

Generally, the positive spillover effect would outweigh the negative ones if more countries had more precision weapons of this type. I'm not saying every modern weapon is a JDAM. And there are some weapons we should be selective about exporting. But the very fact that different weapons bring different technical and cultural challenges is a good reason to question the lawmakers' focus on this one.

Rejecting Bush Admin Policy of $60-Billion-plus Arms Package For Islamist Arab Nations and Israel

United States Now Officially Unveiled Its Over $60-Billion-plus Arms Package For Israel and Islamist Arab Nations With Over 80% Populations (Anti-American, Anti-Freedom , Anti Free Society, Pro True Islam - Must Watch Video Series Of Idiots Guide to Islam ) . The new unveiled USA policy is considered against Freedom-loving Iranian people with Over 95% Anti-Islamist population (The Mad Mafia Islamist Regime Is Founded By Carter and British Over 28 Years Ago ... and Supported Directly / Indirectly By G8 For Milking Iran in past 28 years) .
Bush Admin past 7 years hidden agenda is exposed the facts clearly that they don’t support Islamist Mafia regime change in Iran because mad mafia mullahs, mad Pasdar Ahmadinejad and imaginary enemies are needed to fulfill mad strategy against freedom-loving American and Iranian people interest and peace….

With Over $60-Billion-plus Arms Package For Israel and Islamist Arab Nations, They Will Never See Peace …. United States and Israelis People Will Become Bigger Target For Endless Islamist Arab Terrorists …. Israel lobbyist might be excited for Free 43 Billions USA Arms Package But They Don’t See Reality …..
Please read posted comments to WashingtonPost by the people:

Today Simple Rules For Evaluating Foreign Policy and Strategy/Rejecting Bush Admin Policy of $60-Billion-plus Arms Package For Islamist Arab Nations

Rejecting United States officially unveiled Policy of selling $60-Billion-plus Arms Package For Israel and Islamist Arab Nations based on set of test cases below for foreign policy evaluation criteria to be able to measure success and failure results more easily. Our recommended test cases and criteria are based on Cyrus The Great Spirit, the American founding fathers vision, spirit of freedom, US constitution and defined as follows:

1- Have a secular democracy purpose
2- Have a Human Rights purpose
3- Have a Free Society purpose
4- Have a primary effect to increase freedom at global level.
5- Have the element of War Of Ideas to expand public awareness, education and expansion of truth.
6- Have an element of Freedom of Choice
7- Applying the U.S.A. Supreme Court accepted "Lemon test," to foreign policy decisions, strategy and conduct. According to the "Lemon test," in order to be constitutional, a law or public act must: a) Have a secular purpose. b) Have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion. c) Not result in excessive governmental entanglement with religion.
8- Move towards better unified global fair Justice System.

Last edited by cyrus on Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:08 pm; edited 14 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:22 pm    Post subject: Posted Comment to washingtonpost Reply with quote

Posted Comment to washingtonpost wrote:

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Posted by: Vilyamzb | August 25, 2007 05:01 PM

A sixty+ billion dollar arms package for our so called allies in the Mideast?

Mean, mean, meanwhile... here at home... people work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet/meat; inflation runs rampant; there's no health care for the common wealth; the gap between the haves and have $nots is ever wider; the borders are broken; our military is being slowly destroyed in Iraq-nam; the country is bankrupt... and our bridges are falling down.

Revolution is on the minds of many people; it can happen here! Indeed! It is happening.

Posted by: GUY FOX | August 3, 2007 02:12 PM

RayM: A moderate Arab country, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, fought against Iran and lost. We further punished him by two wars and sanctions. We murdered him using our Iraqi proxies and killed as many of his Baathists supporters as we could. We then handed over the country to Shia militia. After seeing all this, which Arab regime do you think is stupid enough to fight Iran?

Posted by: peacefirst | August 2, 2007 06:30 PM

Somebody has to speak for them since you and the GOP are not. You let OBL go free and used their deaths as an excuse to invade Iraq.

Posted by: Alex | August 1, 2007 06:27 PM

"dc writes:but I forgot, they're dead so they can't challenge that stupid statement.

yr making a whole lot of sense, yr speaking for the dead ?"

Posted by: DC | August 1, 2007 08:10 PM

dc writes:but I forgot, they're dead so they can't challenge that stupid statement.

yr making a whole lot of sense, yr speaking for the dead ?

Posted by: Alex | August 1, 2007 06:27 PM

Posted by: Alex

"There are lesser evils and greater evils. Some things are worse then others. Syria, Iran , Taliban , Qaeda are worse then
Dictatorships like Jordan , Egypt , Saudi Arabia."

Hey, don't tell us, tell the victims of 911. Never mind, there dead so you can't tell them how Saudi Arabia is the lesser evil. If they were ALIVE today they would rank Saudi Arabia over Iran, but I forgot, they're dead so they can't challenge that stupid statement.

Posted by: DC | August 1, 2007 03:43 PM

My apologies...that last comment was meant to be addressed to VP Cosmicum, not written by him/her.

Posted by: Jay Schneider | August 1, 2007 04:32 AM

I appreciate your comments. I think it is sad, however, that so many civilians have to assume a member of the armed forces has neither the rationality, nor the intellect, to understand complicated problems. We are not the exception. We just don't have the backing of elected civilian leaders to make any real difference, so we are not as vocal in public fora. (Okay, there is also the very good reason of preserving unfettered civilian rule of the military...this has something to do with it as well.) The appointees (often with personal and professional ties to corporate interests) think what they think and there is really nothing anyone can do to change their minds. Indeed, they are really the source of these kinds of problems in our short history as a nation. But I digress...this is supposed to be about what happens when one tries to buy friendships in bad neighborhoods, right?

Posted by: VP Cosmicum | August 1, 2007 04:30 AM

Mr. Arkin,

In your analysis of the proposed $63B Middle East arms sale (yesterday's total revised by $13B to account for Egypt) you state: "Focusing our moderate allies on conventional war-making and military pomp diverts their attention from the domestic political troubles and internal dissatisfactions that are at the root of their own instability."

You have identified the core question of the proposed arms deal... Does the value of regional containment of the Persians outweigh the political risks inherent in propping up our nominal allies?

The Islamic terrorists are a backward focused cult, seeking to restore the long faded caliphate. They reject woman's rights, practice harsh physical punishment for minor legal infractions and are ignorant of the value of other cultures religious symbols.

Engagement with our allies will provide us opportunities to: dissuade, isolate and terminate the jihadists.

Posted by: Hawk58 | August 1, 2007 12:00 AM

There are lesser evils and greater evils. Some things are worse then others. Syria, Iran , Taliban , Qaeda are worse then
Dictatorships like Jordan , Egypt , Saudi Arabia. You can arm the side more closely aligned with yr interests or not. But the logic of helping those closest to you ( and no they don't have to be our friends) is pretty basic.

Posted by: Alex | July 31, 2007 11:30 PM

For the life of me I can't figure out how dumping $60 billion
of conventional weapons into the Mideast is any kind of solution.
Part of the problem is trying to fight a war on terrorism with conventional weapons. These weapons will likely be used for other purposes and not in the best interets of the USA. This kind of creative thinking will only make things worse.

Posted by: MTgrassland | July 31, 2007 08:31 PM

iseem to recall that back in the 80's the u.s. sold a lot of arms in the middle east as well. iraq promptly used the technology we sold them to build biological weapons for use against the kurds, iranians, and so-called bandits inhabiting the marshes around basra and the shatt al-arab waterway. we also sold arms to iran to use against the iranians. not to be outdone the french sold exocet missiles as well as mirage fighter jets to iraq and they promptly used them to attack a u.s. warship killing 27 sailors. the israelis were also selling large amounts of arms to the iranians because saddam was percieved to be a threat to the temple. and, of course we all rememberthe israeli attack against the osiris reactor south of baghdad. and where has all of this gotten us? well, one can look around the middle east and see the results a quarter century later. the u.s.especially seems to deem the middle east as it's own weapons sales playground while netting zero results in terms of it's "democracy building" focus on foreign policy. this is absolute and utter nonsense. where is the democracy, especially in countries like saudi arabia, egypt, qatar, and kuwait? these are sultanates, monarchies, and in the case of egypt, outright dictatorship. in the end all the u.s. willaccomplish is increase the likelyhood of a spreading religiously based war of shiites versus sunnis. in fact, this seems to be their direct goal. the saudisare incapable of fighting an offensive war because they are to busy accounting for the family jewels while inhibiting the rights of it's citizens; especially women. so it becomes easy to see that the interests ofthe white house lie in pouring more gasoline on fires of the middle east while american arms merchants get richer.it makes no sense to most people but since when did that matter to the neo-fascists residing at 1600? it will move swiftly through congress without digression or much debate simply because it has long been known that most of our elected leaders will follow the directions of the jewish lobbyists without question. let's face it, americans don't own america anymore.

Posted by: lonewolf | July 31, 2007 07:54 PM

Jay Schneider - I apologize in advance for my prejudice, but I can't help but be suspicious about your true identity. Your words seem measured and devoid of irrationality. You do not exhibit blind devotion to the view of your commander in chief, nor do you advance specious reasoning to justify your country's actions. Your analysis of Iran, in particular, is enough to send shivers down the spine of many Israeli politicians (truly, how could Iran possibly be a "rational actor"?).

Facetiousness and prejudice aside, if you are in fact who you claim to be, I can only hope that your rationality manages to seep upwards into the ranks of decisionmakers.

Thanks for taking the time to educate.

Posted by: VP Cosmicum | July 31, 2007 05:57 PM


While I do not speak on behalf of the military or the US government, I wanted to make the point that what I say isn't just an opinion from someone who is unconnected to the issues at hand. I do not desire to use my authority (or lack thereof) to influence the validity of my arguments. I care deeply about this region, and about the United States. Technically speaking, I gave my opinion, but I believe the facts speak for themselves.

From your own posting, it looks as though you could use a little eduction by way of immersion in the region. The 'facts' as you present them belie a very different reality. The numbers you present reflect a very skewed socio-economic view of the Gulf States. (When applying conventional metrics of performance to rentier economies, this tends to happen.) And your historical ommissions WRT Khomeini's take-over in Iran and what caused it is a bit suspicious. But this is the norm when proponents of a certain worldview talk about Iran. They conveniently forget about the US and British intrigue surrounding Mossadegh and the coup, and what that did to the people of Iran. Puts an entirely different spin on your rather truncated version of events surrounding the revolution. And while I agree that Islam does not equal revolution, your conclusion that those "six" Islamic countries are safe from regime change by political subversion or radical reform because they are wealthy is mistaken. You need to take a look at several factors to make a meaningful assessment -- chief among them could be ethnoreligious and social differences WRT access to political representation and economic opportunities. You could also take a look at the extensive internal intelligence apparati. That alone should tell you enough about what is on the minds of Arab and Persian elites.

Look, my point is the author was right. This is about perception more than anything else. The arms deal is sending shock waves through the Arab Street. They all want change. The US government in most cases has been working for this change, but very slowly. In some cases this work has been counterproductive. (The current arms deal included.) Change has to come from within, and it just makes it harder when an outside actor reinforces the regime's monopoly on power by throwing a bunch of weapons into the hands of elites that rely primarily on systems that exploit people rather than develop them. That's the bottom line. The "Arab Street" sees it that way and until the situation changes, nothing will change their minds -- certainly not monuments to national pride, failed develop schemes, or false promises.

In resonse to some of the comments here, Iran is not an "imperial juggernaught." The regime there really is just as much of a rational actor as anyone else in the region and concerted diplomatic engagement (as opposed to appeasement), rather than isolation and military action, is the key to long term success for the region and would certainly help restore American credibility in the Middle East and beyond. Unfortunately, this won't happen until after 2008 and even then the odds are against success. This process of constructive engagement takes about as much time as it takes to occupy and crush an insurgency with ill-suited and ill-equipped conventional forces -- it takes generations -- but at far less cost and in a more sustainable way. Why not do it this way and kill fewer of my friends, Mik?

What's the problem with that?

Is it that your friends in the arms industry won't get their annual bonuses so they can buy up what little beachfront is left in Ambergris?

Posted by: Jay Schneider | July 31, 2007 05:08 PM

seriously Jay Schneider, just write your opinion.....

stating your current position as a U.S. military officer stationed in Cairo.....a U.S. Military Officer who makes the statement you just made and then leaves a full name AND duty station.... c'mon now, just write your opinion, don't give us very suspect credentials attempting to garner more weight for your thoughts.

Posted by: mik | July 31, 2007 03:39 PM

Strategic alliances...

That's what this is all about! The President of the United States initially failed at building the kinds of military coaltions that he envisioned in the Middle East, several years ago. For that matter, America's long-term allies wouldn't get on board either.

Give him credit though, for he didn't give up. He simply went about it in a different way. Amercia intends to accomplish its aims one way or another.

However, arming the entire Middle-East is still a dangerous and unwise precedent that we will all likely pay for in the future. We need to be working towards disarmament, particularly disarmament of the United States!

Whatever happened to detente, Salt I and II, et al? We are headed in the direction, I believe, of a world-wide cataclysm, and apparently that is what the powers that be have in mind, given that they are fueling it.

Posted by: The Rev | July 31, 2007 02:02 PM

As I read the article, I found myself agreeing with most of what the author wrote. He rightly focuses on the *perception* of nefarious intentions that this kind of activity generates in the rank and file Muslim population, and the fear that this generates. It is, on the ground, inherently destabilizing in the social psyches of the citizens of these nations. (I talk to these people every day, and fortunately they know the difference between the American people and their Executive leaders. But, I hasten to add that Allied leaders knew the difference when they directed their bombers to target civilians in WWII. "All is fair....") He also rightly questions what the real motivations are. There are gaps in the analysis, but that happens with abbreviated commentaries. As I read the reader comments, I was discouraged on balance. I can't believe the ignorance and hubris masquerading as learned opinion, both in policy circles and in the general public. As a military officer assigned to the Middle East / North Africa region, it is my business to provide analysis on important security concerns. Certainly Iran is a concern, but I fear that the predominant circles making our foeign policy today have, as the author implies, missed the point. Whether this is deliberate or accidental, or a combination of both, is still up for debate. Certainly, with even a cursory review of the history of Western presence in the region over the last 150 years, the idea of strategic misdirection is very possible. This complicates matters to a degree that makes any lasting resolution impossible, because if it is true that the measures are a ruse in whole or in part, then powerful political, industrial and financial interests will subvert any meaningful diplomatic progress with impunity. There is no conspiracy theory here, just the hard historical fact that these interests have played a greater role than most realize or admit to. Witness the Great Powers maneuvering behind the scenes to subvert one another and their colonial "subjects" on the eve of WWI and through WWII. More recently, read the declassified diplomatic communiques from US officials prior to and through the wars in Southeast Asia. (There are many, many more examples!) And if there weren't already enough spoilers in the process, consider the already radicalized elements of the MENA region, along with the hardline members of Israel's right wing political parties. The great paradox in all of this is that everyone, and I mean *everyone*, is acting rationally. I mean to say, there is a REASON why everyone is taking their respective courses of action. On the one hand, powerful Western interests need to secure oil and natural gas resources, as well as protect against proliferation of WMD and, as a corrollary, to fight the spread of radical ideologies predisposed to "terrorist" strategies and tactics. On the other hand, native and local interests are at odds with one another over the distribution of power, economic and political access, and social justice. Many of these people have long historical memories of the West's false promises and involvement with oppressive rulers and puppet regimes -- and we in the West are giving little reason for them to trust us even today. Whether you agree with the President's policies or not isn't the issue. (Personally, I think our policy in the region will lead only to more pain and suffering down the road for everyone but a select few.) What is at issue is whether Americans are willing to accept the fact that our presence in the region will lead to higher oil prices (not lower), more loss of life and protracted irregular wars (as a trade off for "stability", which is not the same thing as "peace"), the entrenchment of unfriendly regimes to the West and the bolstering of friendly oppressive regimes (especially in light of the recently unveiled security assistance programs), and ultimately to the galvinizing of Muslims, Sunni and Shia, moderate and radical, against regimes and other actors in the region that are thought to be (and are) oppressive. If any of you don't get that, then my brothers and sisters in the military will continue to die for your ignorance. But the number of Americans who will die won't hold a candle to the numbers of native peoples of the ME who will suffer and die. Some of you might be saying they don't need any help in that department anyway, implying that somehow our role in the causal chain is negligible or nil -- I think this is a contemptible, cynical, and dangerous line of thought. It's a cavalier, arrogant line of thought that gets people killed. Being a Marine officer, I hear it from right wing military types all the time. The present form of our occupation in the region isn't really a matter of self-defense at all. We all know about the cooked-up reasons for drumming up American public support for the war, so I won't go into that here. With what we've done, we have only made the long term prospects for continued terrorist threats in the US worse. If you don't get *this* point, then I fear we have only seen the beginning with respect to the attacks in New York, to instability in the MENA region, and to the vulnerability of our body politic to being hijacked by demagogues and their sycophantic appointees.

Posted by: Jay Schneider, Cairo | July 31, 2007 01:08 PM

Israel is a prosperous country, why should we give them $30 Billion. Selling arms and making money is one thing but giving it away to a country which is already armed to the teeth is insane.

With modern days electronics rest assured that none of the arm can be used against Israel. The Arab countries probably buy it just to keep our military/industrial complex happy. It is a kind of extortion money.

Posted by: peacefirst | July 31, 2007 01:07 PM

Note - 'revolution and terrorism' in Iran were not the result of U.S. arms sales but were instead the result of poor treatment of that country's citizens by those in power(ultimately that seems to always be the reason for revolution!). Eventually, those people reached out to something to make change...in Iran's case it was religion. It is ignorant to deduce that because the primary religion for 7 of 8 countries above is Islam that they should be viewed as a serious threat for future revolutionary change. Of the 7 Islamic countries listed above,(except Egypt, which is getting an 'Aid Pkg') their are SIX of the WORLD's top FIFTEEN ranked standards of living represented....the exact opposite of poor treatment of one's citizens, and hence not a threat for internal regime change.

This is business, the U.S. is the #1 manufacturer/producer/purchaser of military hardware in the world and it makes no sense for a manufacturer to also be the sole purchaser! It makes far more business sense to keep making something like an F-16 and sell 10 or 20 to another country for approx $70M each.

For example, Bahrain's miltary expenditures totaled 628M in 2005(per the CIA's 2006 Military Fact Book). With an equal split, one-sixth of that $20,000,000,000 arms package means a nice little spending spree. Now, they can enter into a 700M contract with Lockheed Martin for a couple flights of F-16s and everyone's happy. What's the problem???

Posted by: Mik | July 31, 2007 11:19 AM

Arabs are looking for some respect in a world that seems to be passing them by at a blistering rate. In their world, now dated by about 1000 years, they view that respect in terms of military might (proved by accomplishment on the field). In their list of enmity, Iran ranks just below Israel. Beating Iran (or anyone) is what the Arab street wants. Just like Argentinia rejoicing when the Faulklands were (temporarily) held, for the third world, gestures of bravado go a long way. I suspect the Arabs wouldn't need much prodding to make Iran their new enemy and Iran would not like that.

The US doesn't want war, they just want a return to stability with the hope that Arabs and Persians will finally start to reform their medieval cultures before they come to blows.

It's a calculation, a dangerous one, but the alternative may be that Israel and Iran go at it with nuclear weapons. The constant here is that Israel will not go down without taking many, many muslims with them.

Posted by: Jeff Harmon | July 31, 2007 11:18 AM

Bush hasn't got a clue, and, after the mess he has made in Iraq, the Arabs would be idiots to support a Bush lead alliance. The Middle East should take care of their own business, and the West needs to stay out of it.
However, because of 9/11, I still support the conflict in Afghanistan, and the world needs a stable Pakistan.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | July 31, 2007 11:01 AM

The US taxpayer takes another punch to the jaw... this is approx $200 per person (just using the US population, actually much more if you calculate using only the number of taxpayers). Just to make that clear - most people reading this probably paid at least $100 to help with this 'aid' package. Thanks for your generosity Smile
It wouldn't be quite so bad if the money was simply leaving the country for genuine humanitarian aid, but to make it worse it is being channeled to the weapons makers first, and then out to contribute to the destabilization of the middle east, thereby ensuring more business for said weapons makers.

Posted by: zoom | July 31, 2007 10:42 AM

Anyone remember the Baghdad Pact?


AKA CENTO, dissolved after the Khomeini Revolution in 1979 and replaced by CENTCOM. The current crew not knowing history, are doomed to repeat.

Posted by: John Shreffler | July 31, 2007 10:24 AM

Hilarious! Most Americans are always opposed to everything the Bush administration are doing to the Middle East. Democrats are caught sleeping on this subject, I guess... I wanna hear more whining!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2007 10:20 AM

The comment posted by RayM says that the Iranians are neither sunni nor shia, but Pashtun. This is nonsensical given that being a sunni or shia concerns one's religion while Pashtun is an ethno-linguistic group. It continues by stating that Iran claims to be sunni. This is false. According to Wikipedia, 90 percent of Iranians are shia muslims. The government is in line with this shia constituency. Given this patently false understanding of the facts concerning Iran, one can not take the analysis of the first comment seriously.

This deal is in keeping with the Bush administrations tendecies to favor force over diplomatic engagement, and the misconception that the US can achieve its goals using our superiority in money and weaponry alone. That was the assumption in Vietnam, in Iran with the Shah, and subsequently, Iraq. We must hope the results will not be so dire this time.

Posted by: Edward Goldstein | July 31, 2007 10:14 AM

When you need more money to fight the war you are in, to sell arms to everyone involved might be the only thing you can do... i am kinda surprised we aren't selling them to iran also... or maybe we are.

Posted by: groovyd | July 31, 2007 10:12 AM

I used to believe in some utilitarian idea of interventionism, but after observing things for a while I realized that the U.S. doesn't spread it's ideas so well through military means. Even moderate or liberal Iranians now think it's a good idea for Iran to have the bomb. Why not? India, Pakistan and Israel all have it. The older I get, the more it looks like a military solution should always be the absolute last resort. I fail to see how arming a bunch of our "allies" who aren't even on the same page as us with human rights is going to make the situation more stable. This kind of thing has already empowered people like Ahmadinejad, and in a different environment he would be weak enough that more moderate forces within Iran would remove him. I understand the conservative view of giving no quarter or legitimacy to those who are our enemies, but you can't fight or threaten everyone in the world, and regimes can be softened from within if the population looks at the US as a leader, rather than a bully.

Posted by: Edward | July 31, 2007 10:09 AM

What an utopian dream-Imagine Israel fighting against Iran with Egypt,Kuwait and Jordan and Saudi Arabia as comrades- in -arms.This may remain a dream but the reality is a boost to US arms lobby.

Posted by: arun1 | July 31, 2007 10:07 AM

Ray M.-
You don't have to hate Bush to see that his foreign policy is ill conceived. His initial efforts, with Colin Powell, to broker peace between Israel and Palestine were laudible but since then it's been one dangerous misstep after another. If you want some verification of this from a conservative source read Francis Fukayama, who was just as appalled by Bushes attempt to give our port security to the United Arab Emerites as any of us liberals.

Posted by: Tim | July 31, 2007 10:07 AM

Response to news of Grants in aid and allience: No one really has an answer,but, we have to start someplace. How about a prayer or two to our and their Creator. He probably will eventually lead us into the correct formula for lasting peace. Hate brings no relief, only more acrimony and violence while detracting from the hater and shows his lack of self esteem!

Posted by: James B. PerryFt. Lauderdale FL33301 | July 31, 2007 10:03 AM

Ray M from Fremont you are incorrect most Iranians are Shia and are are not Pashtun. pashtun is an ethnic group from the Afghan Pakisatn border area. This is the trouble with blogs ignorance thrives. the article is spot on by the way.

Posted by: dave | July 31, 2007 10:03 AM

If there's anything to learn about the history of the Middle East it's that our actions usually have unintended consequences down the road, aka 'blowback'.

Of course I'm sure that won't happen *this* time around... *rolls eyes*

Posted by: Jeema | July 31, 2007 10:03 AM

"In short run this may be a good start to slow down the wheels of an Iranian juggernaunt if it turns imperialistic."

Are you serious? "Iranian juggernaut turned imperialistic." Iran is an impoverished, technologically backwards nation of 65 million. The United States and its European allies could easily crush any Iranian hopes of imperialism in a matter of days using air power alone.

Your comment is easily one of the most ignorant miscalculations of a nation's military potential I have ever read. Who feeds you this tripe that makes you believe Iran is a genuine threat? Whoever the propagandist behind your beliefs is, they deserve a raise.

Posted by: ateo | July 31, 2007 10:02 AM

Responxce to news of Grants in aid and allience: No one really has an answer,but, we have to start someplace. How about a prayer or two to our and their Creator. He probably will eventually lead us into the correct formula for lasting peace. Hate brings no relief, only more acrimony and violence while detracting from the hater and shows his lack of self esteem!

Posted by: James B. PerryFt. Lauderdale FL33301 | July 31, 2007 10:01 AM

I agree with mbawmba. You're great at questioning policy, which is valid and sells newspapers (or online ads), but what do you think is the solution? You hold yourself out as the almighty critic of National and Homeland Security, but what do you know? You imply from your language and tone theres a better way. So what is it genuis?

Posted by: altoids | July 31, 2007 10:01 AM

First of all, Iranians are NOT Pashtuns. Second, the country is 90% Shia. Get your facts right, RayM.

Posted by: | July 31, 2007 09:59 AM

More arms for the Arabs to use against Israel?! Likely result, G-d forbid.

Posted by: TZ | July 31, 2007 09:59 AM

Just what the region needs .....more fire power...............duh

Posted by: billy | July 31, 2007 09:59 AM

The way I see it is like this... The two most rich and powerful parts of this planet: The Western World (this includes the U.S. U.K. and so forth) and the Arab nations (which includes places like Iran, Iraq etc..) should be all standards be utopian dreams where money is of no object (a perfect example of this would be Saudia Arabia and the U.S. respectivly where being poor is only synomimous with having less than others and not with starvation like in Africa or most Asian nations)...

Instead of this UTOPIA an Orwellian drama is being played out where the two blocs war with each other on distant battlefields while their constituients at home follow the news with disgust but still support their respective governments for the actions they take in protecting their "way of life"... At the same time their politicians use THINKSPEAK create new jargon such as "American Empire" or "GCC" to confuse and dumb down those who do not see the bigger picture.

What does this all mean???? Well its quite clear that Orwell's 1984 masterpiece is implicitly playing out in the Middle East but instead of phantom alliances of non-exsistent countries actually NATIONS and their allies are starting to come together in order to maintain this farce and a war that has no real end and no real beginning...

It truly must be the beginning of the end.......

Posted by: Anonimo | July 31, 2007 09:56 AM

i need to move out of america before the whole world decides to bomb us.

Posted by: | July 31, 2007 09:54 AM

No on really has an answer, but, we have to start someplace. How about a prayer or two to our , and their Creator who really knows the answer and will lead us all to it. Hate only breeds contempt and an awareness of the haters lack of self esteem!

Posted by: James B. Perry | July 31, 2007 09:54 AM

Just what the region needs .....more fire power...............duh

Posted by: billy | July 31, 2007 09:52 AM

It is too bad so many are blinded by the Anti Bush Effect.

Your conclusion that moderate middle east countries would not fight against Iran is wrong.

More importantly, you forgot to wait for an answer to your questions before you answered them.

Your story fails to state that Iran is NOT Sunni or Shia - they are Pashtun - with a convenient self declaration that they are Sunni's.

Why is this important? Simple. Iran has always wanted to rule the middle east. Sadly and ironically, Sadam was the only counterbalance until now. Today it is America - and your enemy number 1 - George Bush.

So, I strongly suggest you rethink your position and wrong conclusion that no other country in the ME would fight against Iran. For their survival and money they would!

Finally, please add balance to your analysis. Your hatred for Bush is evident and stifles what matters most - journalistic integrity and telling two sides of every story.

Fremont, CA

Posted by: RMorgan | July 31, 2007 09:49 AM

In the 80s Reagan gave arms and military intel to Iraq (and "secretly" to Iran) to further US oil interests in the region and, no doubt "give a chance to the forces of moderation and reform". Look how well that worked out. This administration has no sense of history. If they had bothered to listen to anyone other than PNAC and Chalabi they would have known Iraq would implode after the invasion. When did we decide to throw diplomacy out in favor of a military solution to everything? Either the Bushies are stupid or, as with the missile defense base they want to build in Poland (a technology that doesn't work to defend against a threat that doesn't exist), they are in the pocket of the big military contractors. Is it all about the bottom line? This will do nothing to open the oil pipelines to the US and it will make the middle east even less stable than it already is.

Posted by: Tim | July 31, 2007 09:48 AM

Desperate situations needs innovative solutions.
What has the US got to lose? But if it wins, an overall control on the 'moderate' and oil rich states is possible.
Worth a try!!

Posted by: mbawmba | July 31, 2007 09:47 AM

So, William, what do you recommend we do?

Posted by: Rod | July 31, 2007 09:47 AM

The implications are indeed Imperial. I used to think that our leaders just did not "Get It". I'm have drawn the conclusion that they know what they are doing and it has nothing to do with PEACE or our security. The goal is to secure the legacy of the wealthy at all cost. As the rest of the world resists, the common people of this nation will continue to lose our civil rights and our lives in the process. Not a sunny analysis but closer to the truth than assuming they are idots.

Posted by: Stuben | July 31, 2007 09:47 AM

"An American Empire?"

NATO was perceived to be similar when it was put together, as was the Warsaw Pact of course. In short run this may be a good start to slow down the wheels of an Iranian juggernaunt if it turns imperialistic.

"Saudi and Egyptian forces attacking Iran?"

You are correct. I don't see this happening in any meaninful mass. However, in a potential war, I do see Saudi fighters defending Saudi airspace while US land and carrier based stealth fighters like the F-35 attack Iranian assets.

One more thing to say: This doesn't seem to me as a diversion of focus from social issues anymore than hiring a police force in any rundown, dangerous neighborhood would be. I think anyone, first year PoliSci student or life long historian, would say that security must come first befor a nation can look towards its internal problems with both eyes, not the other way around.

Posted by: crypt2121 | July 31, 2007 09:45 AM

The federal government should focus on rebuilding the Gulf Coast and New Orleans before throwing away tax money on some of these countries who have dictators and suppress social change. What a waste of tax payers money!

Posted by: Clueless? | July 31, 2007 09:45 AM

Didn't we once provide Iraq with arms, and look what happened? We need to learn from our mistakes, our friends today may be our enemies tomorrow.

Posted by: | July 31, 2007 09:43 AM

Can't Americans learn from past mistakes? After arming the Taliban and Suddam in the 1980's, we now want to help arm Saudi Arabia--home of the extreme Wahabi Muslims, Osama Bin Ladin, and most of the 9-11 terrorists. Why can't Americans learn?
W Carter, Oxford Ohio

Posted by: W Carter | July 31, 2007 09:42 AM

Good article, couldn't agree more. I don't see any of the middle east countries joining a united offensive against Iran. These weapons are mostly symbolic and will end up being used as propaganda to recruit more young angry Arabic jihadists to fight against US interests. Saudi Arabia in particular has more work to do in its own fight against home bred terrorists. Lets hope none of the weapons end up in their hands.

Posted by: Neal | July 31, 2007 09:41 AM

if someone else proposed this, Bill Arkin would jump on the wagon. simply because it's Bush's policy, it's wrong. sorry Bill, save your thought for Katie Couric.

Posted by: seriously? | July 31, 2007 09:40 AM

In the fictional world where Bush is never elected, a different kind of deal happens:


Posted by: The Gore Years | July 31, 2007 09:40 AM

The US Govt continues to demonstrate its congenital ignorance of The Middle East.

Posted by: ragtime12 | July 31, 2007 09:39 AM

What is the likelihood that this aid package is being put forward to help defend regional interests from retaliation from possible aggression against Iran?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2007 09:24 AM

What is the likelihood that this aid package is being put forward to help defend regional interests from retaliation from aggression against Iran?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject: Posted Comments to washingtonpost Reply with quote

Posted Comments to washingtonpost wrote:

Please read posted comments to washingtonpost, for better format and easier to read visit the following URL:


And what was yesterday's question: Where does the money go?

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Posted by: SamEllison | November 21, 2007 06:55 PM

More likely, it would be Chinese ballistic missiles... These weapons could be employed without the complications of a complex air mission --

This could never happen, according to 'anonymous' blogger. He wrote in to say, a week ago, that the Chinese technology, particularly with respect o, submarines, isn't sophisticated enough for us to be concerned over!

I suppose that a group of 19 men couldn't bring down the WTC - well, no point in being crass and insensitive!

Posted by: The Rev | November 21, 2007 05:31 PM

JDAMs? Wow, at first the Rev thought that Mr. Arkin had blasphemed!

Don't look now, but I betcha that, secretly, many of the Republicans in the senate and the house, privily, could only wish that that Mr. Bush was a Democrat.

Can you imagine how the Republican policymakers would have excoriated and villified a democratic president for behaving in the manner that Mr. Bush has, over the past 7 years. Remember President Clinton?

Of course Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Savage, and the other radio-nuts would have supported them =====================at present their voices have been muted!

Next: Let's see, 65 million years ago, don't tell the Religious Right, dinosaurs were destroyed off of the face of the earth - according to science. I wonder, could it have been JDAMs (excuse me God) from some evolved intellecutal group of beings, instead of a meteorite that wiped them out?

Finally, I wonder whether or not some species, let's say about 65 million years from now (having sent a probe to our barren planet from another system in some other nebulae), will be having discussions about the life-forms that apparently inhabited this planet (made extinct by an apparent nuclear catastrophe around the year 2013)?

It would appear that human civilization is headed for a massive nuclear conflagration, in the not too-distant future!

Who will survive it? Probably the politicians who make the bad decisions. They are the ones who mostly have their own private and already prepared hiding places. Anyone remember 9/11 - when the policy-makers were the first ones to go into hiding - leaving us to fend for ourselves.

For the rest of us who appear to have very little influence on the policy-makers, we are in, as #41 once said, 'deep do do!

Someday Americans will realize that former Governor and current Congressmen Moonbeam -weren't so crazy after all!

Hello, hello..anyone out there! Comeback!!

Posted by: The Rev | November 21, 2007 05:25 PM

You have to be kidding! The U.S. and the Saudis have been joined at the hip for years. They worked together in Afghanistan against the Soviets and with Iran/Contra. Open war between Saudi Arabia and Israel is highly unlikely.
Congress is just sucking up to the Israeli Lobby!

Posted by: P. J. Casey | November 21, 2007 03:23 PM


The sale of smart weapons is a good thing, because it makes recepients train to use it and in doing so, to interact with western military personnel.

I like it. Weapons proliferation as a form of cultural exchange.

Of coarse, one could try the cultural exchange part, without the JDAMS part...

Posted by: Dimitry | November 21, 2007 03:03 PM

And Why would the Saudis need JDAM weapons? These are aggressive war weapons, not defensive measures. Just who would the Saudis attack in the region? Iran? Iraq? Now wouldn't that be nice!

This really does appear to be a Bush-Cheney ploy to get the Saudis to provoke some kind of incident that would bring the much desired Iran conflict. This is not a good idea!

Posted by: RedRat | November 21, 2007 12:29 PM


Stand by for heavy rolls, my friend.

Though your point about precision weapons marking the intellectual dividing line between two distinct warfare paradigms, and takes a realistic view of the role military power and conflict plays in today's world, it is sure to rile your idealist less-pragmatic readers.

Posted by: Frank | November 21, 2007 10:22 AM

Last edited by cyrus on Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:05 am    Post subject: THE GRAND BARGAIN? Reply with quote



Mr. Rafsanjani's new coalition of the Ready, Willing and Able (Rafsanjani, Khatami, Karoubi, Rouhani, Madam Shirin Ebadi) has sent a secret message to the United States and the Western nations through the British Parliament Members, recently visited Mullah's in Iran.

The message is very simple. It reads " We are willing to cooperate with you at all levels when we take over. Providing, you Guarantee in writing, Islamic Republic's survival and no further act of hostility".

The sticky issue for any government in power will be, obeying the UN RESOLOTION for Stopping the Nuclear Enrichment.

Any government stop the nuclear program voluntary, will be the end receiver of the hardliner's wrath of anger and possibility of having to resign and/or even regime change in Iran.

What will be the answer?

To conduct Military attack against IRI and ONLY HIT THE NUCLEAR FACILITIES!


Leaving intact the Revolutionary Guards and other key Military targets.

This attack will be with the knowledge and blessing of RWA Coalition of Rafsanjani, releasing them from the liability of stopping the program themselves.

The Attack will unite all Iranians behind Mr. Rafsanjani and the business will be as usual.

Please bear in mind. What no one is talking about. Every Nuclear reactor uses a special Plutonium Fuel Rods that are coded and designed and built for that specific reactor.

The Enriched Plutonium made by Mullah's can not be used in the Russian Made Bushehr power Plant!

Unless Mullah's start building their own power plants where they can incorporate and initiate their own codes and designs to be used in their reactor!

So, you see? This entire Nuclear Enrichment is a game! Game to played on us and the world! Made up by Multi National Armament Manufacturer's, Major Oil Companies, backed by Liberal Media Such as New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN and Etc.

This action has caused a chain reaction of THE ARMS RACE in Middle East! At the end, the big bad wolf Dr. Ahmadinejad (Villain of this play) will be set aside and good folks of RWA Coalition of Rafsanjani, Khatami, Karoubi, Rouhani with Madam Shirin Ebadi's aide, will take over making Iran and the region safe once again.

We can tell you here and now. The offer for GRAND BARGAIN with the West is already on the table.

Let us see if the West will take the bait this time.

As always, Iranian people are the total losers in this deal.




Massoud Azizi wrote:

The statement below by Yari National Group is correct to a certain extent. They are right about the fact that having built "fuel pellets" does not constitute that they can be used in Bushehr reactor. AND they are absolutely right that this entire nuclear circus is just a circus and has no validity as far as military nuclear use (and for that matter for civilian/peaceful use). Both the Western powers as well as mullahs themselves know that this is just a game, and this is all about economy (i.e., trades in dollars vs. Euro) or the remaining oil reserves (~ 40 or so years of oil reserves).

One correction however to the following statement is that in a typical nuclear reactor such as Bushehr reactor (a Pressurized Water Reactor or PWR) the pellets are made of UO2 or Uranium dioxide. These pellets are enriched to 3-4% U-235 enrichment depending on the size of the vessel and heat transfer capacity (primary pumps and steam generator capacity). The pellets are stacked in Zirconium alloy rods and hermetically sealed (which I seriously doubt if IRI has such technology). The rods are then packaged in bundles of multiple rods (again depending on core cooling design and calculations) and then bundles are packaged in assemblies. A multitude of assemblies form the reactor core. Failure to calculate the exact required enrichment, assembly or manufacturing process for the rods, bundles, assemblies or the core could result in various accidents including the rupture of the rods and excessive contamination of the cooling system and other reactor accidents with worse consequences.

Iranians both outside and inside Iran (especially inside) should be alarmed about such catastrophic consequences of reactor accidents. This is a race against time for all of us and we all have the responsibility to stop this madness before it causes an irreversible catastrophe in our beloved homeland.

Ba Dorood,


ActivistChat wrote:

ActivistChat Is Rejecting Any Kind of GRAND BARGAIN with Mafia Mullahs and Terror/Torture Masters ... The GRAND BARGAIN Must Be With Iranian People and Not International Criminals ...

The GRAND BARGAIN means the President Bush is accepting surrender to Mullahs and accepting that he failed all The Test Cases For The Cause Of Freedom, Secular Democracy, Free Society, The Cause Of Liberation from Islamist Mafia Tyranny, Human Rights, Women Rights For Détente With Islamist Mafia Terror Masters and Appeasing Mullahs ….

Our major difference with President Bush Admin in past 7 years is regarding the fact that the great majority of Iranian people are asking for Secular Democracy, Free Society, Human Rights and complete removal of Islamic Hostage-Takers, Invaders and Occupiers of Iran and President Bush Admin is talking about Faith Based Democracy (Islam …) not Secular Democracy and ignoring Iranian people demands even after their clear failure in Iraq while the US government allowed EU3 to play game in Iran without any good results…..

Any deviation from Ambassador Hakimi Open Letter to President Bush will be rejected…

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