From: The Australian & The Times September 15, 2010:
WASHINGTON: The US is finalising the largest arms deal in its history: a $US60 billion ($64bn) package of fighter jets and helicopter gunships for Saudi Arabia...
...To put the deal's $US60bn price tag in context, however, total US arms sales between 2001 and 2008 were $US155bn.
Serious reservations are inevitable among senators who will view the deal as a challenge for Israel and the balance of power in the Middle East...
...However, the Israelis are buying the US's even more advanced F35 Joint Strike Fighter and will retain the military edge. Also absent from the Saudi package is the most sophisticated standoff long-range missiles for the F15s.
"We appreciate the administration's efforts to maintain Israel's qualitative military edge, and we expect to continue to discuss our concerns," said Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the US.
The US also hopes to expand Saudi Arabia's defences as a deterrent to Iran's burgeoning medium-range ballistic missiles.
Boeing estimates that the deal will safeguard or create 77,000 US jobs.
But Aljazeera, in a shoddy op-ed by Teymoor Nabili in Middle East, on September 14th, 2010 complains ...about what?...
...Ignoring the fact that miltary aircraft ...are prettty [sic] much useless against a nuclear missile, especially one that does not exist, $60bn buys a mind boggling amount of firepower, so that must mean that Saudi Arabia's military capacity right now is woefully insufficent compared to Iran's, right?
Saudi military spending already dwarfs Iran's by a factor of six. Indeed, by head of population, Saudi is the world's biggest purchaser of military hardware.
... Iran's military is only superior in terms of manpower numbers.
So if Iran's intention is to send waves of soldiers marching across the desert, then maybe Saudi has something to fear. [Yes, and they've done it before: sending hundreds of thousands of pubescent boys to their deaths in the desert minefields, with plastic "keys to paradise" around their necks, in the war with Iraq - SL]
...the suggestion that Riyadh has something to fear from Tehran is laughable. [No, this op-ed is what's laughable - SL]
... the suggestion that Iran is keen to invade Saudi Arabia makes even less sense than the suggestion that Tehran intends to attack Israel.... the Arab world is much more concerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than any Iran issue. [ha ha ha - who are you kidding??? - SL]
And, as a major survey of the Arab public opinion [which survey?] found recently, the Arab majority ... is in fact very sympathetic of Iran's right to nuclear technology, with a majority saying a nuclear-armed Iran may in fact be a good thing for the region.