The complexities surrounding the affairs in the Middle East can be daunting at the best of times. No wonder Bush and co have such a hard time making sense of it.
During a high-level meeting in Riyadh in January, Saudi officials confronted a top American envoy with documents that seemed to suggest that Iraq’s prime minister could not be trusted.
One purported to be an early alert from the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr warning him to lie low during the coming American troop increase, which was aimed in part at Mr. Sadr’s militia. Another document purported to offer proof that Mr. Maliki was an agent of Iran.
To make matters worse for Washington, a recent report revealed that the most active foreign protagonists in Iraq have been from Saudi Arabia, another detail Tony Snow will never bother to mention during his press briefings.
Now, Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.
Of course, contrary to punishing Saudi Arabia or threatening them with sanctions and possible air strikes, the response from Washington will be to send more arms Saudi Arabia. That’ll show ’em.
The Bush administration has decided to supply billions of dollars in advanced new weapons to Saudi Arabia, other Arab allies of the United States and to Israel, senior State Department officials and congressional aides said Friday.
And for the sake of consistency, more arms are making their way to Israel, though unlike the Saudi’s, the bill will be picked up by the US tax payer.
The US government is proposing a $30m deal selling up to 100 laser-guided bunker-busting bombs to Israel.
We can all sleep easier knowing that these goodies will be making the region a whole lot safer.