The US is preparing a massive series of arms sales to the Middle East according to a senior White House defence official. The move, which is expected to be announced tomorrow, is widely seen as an attempt to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region. The deals with a number of Persian Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, could be worth at least 20 billion dollars.
Military analyst Jack Jacobs says the plans will likely face stiff opposition in Congress:
“There’s no doubt abuot the fact that this is going to fuel the Congress’ and the public’s perception that the Bush administration doesn’t know what it’s doing and yeath, there’s going to be a big fight in the Congress over the sale of these weapons,” he said.
The package, which has not yet been finalised, is expected to be presented to the Congress for approval in the autumn.
The news is not expected to go down well with Israel.
However, its prime miniser Ehud Olmert confirmed on Sunday that the US would increase its military assistance to Israel by 25 percent to 30 billion dollars over the next decade.