(Image Source: USAF/Stephen Trimble)


BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY

ANCHOR JIM FLINK


It’s the first part to what would be the U.S.’s largest foreign arms sale in history. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have struck a $29.4 billion deal that would provide the Royal Saudi Air Force with more than 80 brand new fighter jets. Fox News has the details.

“This deal was approved last year, by congress … The F-15 is not our most advanced fighter, but it’s still a pretty powerful jet and Saudi Arabia’s going to get a lot of them. 84 brand new F-15s, upgrades to 70 others, and this is a big deal, worth about $30 billion.”

The New York Times calls the deal ‘dramatic evidence’ of the Obama administration’s determination to maintain military power in an oil-rich region. The Times highlights the timing of announcement --

“Though the White House said the deal had not been accelerated to respond to threats by Iranian officials in recent days to shut off the Strait of Hormuz, its timing is laden with significance, as tensions with Iran have deepened and the United States has withdrawn its last soldiers from Iraq.”

As one analyst tells CNN, putting pressure on Iran by arming its neighbors is not a new strategy for the U.S. — though he notes the recent power shuffles in the Middle East may hinder its efficacy.  

“Remember what President Bush tried to do was kind of create a Sunni axis against the Shi’a Iran, by arming our Sunni allies, our so-called moderate Sunni allies ... I’m not exactly sure if that’s the best idea going forward, because as you know, this is not the Middle East that we were dealing with during the Bush administration. We no longer have just a handful of dictators that we can tell what to do.”

And a blog on Center for New American Security points out another key factor behind the announcement — the elections. The fighter jets will be built in Boeing’s assembly lines just outside of St. Louis, Missouri — a state President Obama narrowly lost in the 2008 elections.

“Cancelling the deal with Saudi Arabia would have been a tremendous blow to both Boeing and the people of St. Louis. I am not among those who argue we should keep U.S. defense spending high in order to support the U.S. economy, but in this case, I think it is naive to assume U.S. domestic politics did not play at least a small role in this sale.”

And, finally, the St. Louis Post Dispatch highlights how the transaction will affect the city’s economy.

“[The deal] promises job security through at least 2020 to about 2,000 Boeing production workers here. … Boeing hopes to start filling the Saudi orders in 2015. … A deal that will keep an estimated 60,000 people employed across the nation likely will not create any new jobs in St. Louis.”


The $30 billion transaction is a part of a total $60 billion arms deal set to be fulfilled within ten years. On top of the fighter jets, the package will also include, among others, an array of missiles and hundreds of helicopters.

U.S. Finalizes $30 Billion Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia

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Dec 31, 2011

U.S. Finalizes $30 Billion Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia

(Image Source: USAF/Stephen Trimble)


BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY

ANCHOR JIM FLINK


It’s the first part to what would be the U.S.’s largest foreign arms sale in history. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have struck a $29.4 billion deal that would provide the Royal Saudi Air Force with more than 80 brand new fighter jets. Fox News has the details.

“This deal was approved last year, by congress … The F-15 is not our most advanced fighter, but it’s still a pretty powerful jet and Saudi Arabia’s going to get a lot of them. 84 brand new F-15s, upgrades to 70 others, and this is a big deal, worth about $30 billion.”

The New York Times calls the deal ‘dramatic evidence’ of the Obama administration’s determination to maintain military power in an oil-rich region. The Times highlights the timing of announcement --

“Though the White House said the deal had not been accelerated to respond to threats by Iranian officials in recent days to shut off the Strait of Hormuz, its timing is laden with significance, as tensions with Iran have deepened and the United States has withdrawn its last soldiers from Iraq.”

As one analyst tells CNN, putting pressure on Iran by arming its neighbors is not a new strategy for the U.S. — though he notes the recent power shuffles in the Middle East may hinder its efficacy.  

“Remember what President Bush tried to do was kind of create a Sunni axis against the Shi’a Iran, by arming our Sunni allies, our so-called moderate Sunni allies ... I’m not exactly sure if that’s the best idea going forward, because as you know, this is not the Middle East that we were dealing with during the Bush administration. We no longer have just a handful of dictators that we can tell what to do.”

And a blog on Center for New American Security points out another key factor behind the announcement — the elections. The fighter jets will be built in Boeing’s assembly lines just outside of St. Louis, Missouri — a state President Obama narrowly lost in the 2008 elections.

“Cancelling the deal with Saudi Arabia would have been a tremendous blow to both Boeing and the people of St. Louis. I am not among those who argue we should keep U.S. defense spending high in order to support the U.S. economy, but in this case, I think it is naive to assume U.S. domestic politics did not play at least a small role in this sale.”

And, finally, the St. Louis Post Dispatch highlights how the transaction will affect the city’s economy.

“[The deal] promises job security through at least 2020 to about 2,000 Boeing production workers here. … Boeing hopes to start filling the Saudi orders in 2015. … A deal that will keep an estimated 60,000 people employed across the nation likely will not create any new jobs in St. Louis.”


The $30 billion transaction is a part of a total $60 billion arms deal set to be fulfilled within ten years. On top of the fighter jets, the package will also include, among others, an array of missiles and hundreds of helicopters.

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