August 01, 2007
|Gasoline On The Flames||Iran Iraq Palestine/Middle East|
The US has announced that it will send $63 billion in military aid to the Middle East: $20 billion for the Saudis and several small Gulf states, $13 billion for Egypt, and $30 billion for Israel.
William Arkin writes in the Washington Post:
There has been no official talk of a new U.S. military alliance in the Middle East. But my sense is that the Bush administration may be looking to solidify one before it leaves office — and the recently announced $63-billion Middle East arms deals are a stepping stone toward this goal.
The details are still sketchy. But from a strategic standpoint, the administration sees the alliance as serving at least two purposes. One, it ensures that some future president won't give up the fight. And two, it legitimizes future conflict with Iran.
"We are out here to talk about the long term," Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said at a press conference yesterday in Egypt. "The United States has been in this region and in the Gulf specifically for some 60 years. We have every intention of being here for a lot longer."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice equally spoke of "future security cooperation" beyond Iraq.
The new military alliance even has a temporary name: GCC+2. Yesterday, Rice and Gates met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council of six nations: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — plus Egypt and Jordan.
"We have had historic interests in this region and we have pursued them through security cooperation for decades," Rice said, declining to go into the specific nature of any discussions. And indeed they were wide-ranging: Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, terrorism, Iran, Syria.
There is no question that the main event was enlisting the mostly Sunni-dominated governments to do more to prop up Baghdad and support the United States in Iraq. [Emphasis added]
Because if there's anything the Middle East needs more of, it's weapons. And I think we can pretty much conclude that all talk about a US withdrawal from Iraq is just that — talk. Just to placate us. Nobody, Democrat or Republican, who is serious about pulling out is ever going to be allowed to get in a position to make it happen. Not while there's oil in the ground.
See what they do, not what they say.