US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates are continuing their tour of America’s allies in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the latest stop and they come bearing gifts. A military arms package worth fourteen and a half billion euros has been promised to the country and other gulf states. It follows a pledge of military aid to Egypt of over nine billion euros over ten years. But while the two officials say the idea is show US commitment to its allies, back home Democrat Jerrold Nadler is spear heading mounting criticism of the policy: “ We must never forget that arms supplies to the Saudis could very well be turned against our ally Israel and moreover end up in the hands of terrorists.Now we’re told don’t worry about that we’re going to supply more arms to the Israelis to balance this. We should not be in the business of promoting a regional arms race in the Middle East.” Rice has strongly denied that the US weapons are being offered as a means to getting more help in Iraq – she says it’s all part of the fight against extremism. But Iran has accused Washington of trying to de-stabilise the region.
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