This may be the main reason the Bush administration has engaged in a concerted fear mongering effort over the last few weeks -- they were setting the stage for an attempt to gain the public's approval of a massive $20 Billion (that's Billion, with a "B") arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
The Bush administration is expected to announce a massive series of arms deals in the Middle East tomorrow that are being seen as part of a diplomatic offensive against the growing influence of Iran in the volatile region.
The centrepiece of the deals is an agreement between the US and a group of Persian Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, that could eventually be worth at least $20bn, according to news reports. At the same time, 10-year military aid packages will be renewed with Israel and Egypt.
So Bush (via Cheney) rattles Iran's cage and gets Ahmadinejad in a lather, then a few months later we sell Saudi Arabia $20 Billion worth of arms to help them counter Ahmadinejad's threat -- the very threat we created?
You do remember Saudi Arabia and the persian gulf nations; we're selling these arms to the home of all of the 9/11 attackers -- all of the 9/11 attackers came from either Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon or Egypt. Most of them came from Saudi Arabia.
Yes, Saudi Arabia. The home of the majority of the Iraq suicide bombers.
The same Saudi Arabia that is just as bad as the Taliban with respect to human rights issues.
Did you know that Saudi Arabia treats its women one barely noticeable notch above that of the brutal Taliban? Saudi women cannot vote. They are not allowed to drive. They cannot be admitted to a hospital or examined by a doctor or travel abroad or leave the house without the express permission and/or company of an immediate male family member, and of course they must, at all times, be covered from head to toe in black sackcloth and if they dare venture outside or break the fashion code in any way they could very well be arrested and jailed indefinitely and beaten and even killed, no questions asked.
Political prisoners in Saudi Arabia are regularly tortured. Journalists are regularly arrested and persecuted and beaten for being too outspoken against the deeply repressed and closed kingdom. Human rights groups have been appalled by the oppressive and dictatorial Saudi society for years, perhaps no more so than following 9/11, when scrutiny was at an all-time high due to the obvious Saudi kingdom's connections to al Qaeda and terrorism.
Oh yes, we know the kingdom pays millions to terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, to keep them from attacking their vulnerable oil fields, while at the same time investing billions -- that's billions -- into the U.S. economy. Hell, a major Saudi delegation just passed through S.F. this past week, as part of a national tour, trying to ease terrorist tensions and drum up even more investment interest, despite their nation's brutal, antihumanitarian regime. Isn't that sweet?
The obvious threat to Israel is countered by Bush by promising $30 Billion in aid to Israel over a period of 10 years. No doubt, they'll spend some of that with the Neocon-supported arms dealers.
True to form... the Republicans are promoting an arms race in the Middle East.
The deal raises various strategic questions for America. The first is how to placate traditional allies Israel and Egypt, both of which have their own concerns about arming Gulf states. The salve to those concerns appears to be to give them fresh military aid packages of their own. Israel, according to the New York Times, is going to get a $30.5bn package over the next 10 years. That figure is much higher than had originally been planned. Egypt too will get a new 10-year deal, worth an estimated $13bn.
However, the huge flood of arms into the region is likely to cause serious concerns that Washington is supporting an arms race by sending hi-tech weapons to the rivals of Iran. Such a move will likely undermine diplomatic efforts in the region and spur Tehran even further in its quest for greater military power and the development of its nuclear programme. At the same time, others will criticise the White House for sending weapons to a region whose governments could easily collapse and thus leave American hardware in the hands of Islamic militants.
And who in America profits from these kinds of deals? -- the Neocon insiders, of course. Let's look back at the past profit-makers:
Many of the same American corporate executives who have reaped millions of dollars from arms and oil deals with the Saudi monarchy have served or currently serve at the highest levels of U.S. government, public records show.
Those lucrative financial relationships call into question the ability of America's political elite to make tough foreign policy decisions about the kingdom that produced Osama bin Laden and is perhaps the biggest incubator for anti-Western Islamic terrorists.
Nowhere is the revolving U.S.-Saudi money wheel more evident than within President Bush's own coterie of foreign policy advisers, starting with the president's father, George H.W. Bush.
At the same time that the elder Bush counsels his son on the ongoing war on terrorism, the former president remains a senior adviser to the Washington D.C.-based Carlyle Group. That influential investment bank has deep connections to the Saudi royal family as well as financial interests in U.S. defense firms hired by the kingdom to equip and train the Saudi military.[...]
A significant portion of the millions of dollars U.S. companies and their politically influential executives have earned in deals with the Saudis has been through military contracts.
The Carlyle Group had a major stake in the large defense contractor B.D.M., which has multimillion-dollar contracts through its subsidiaries to train and manage the Saudi National Guard and the Saudi air force, U.S. Department of Defense records show. In 1998, Carlyle sold its controlling interest in B.D.M. to defense giant TRW International.
Meanwhile, the boards of directors of the Carlyle Group, B.D.M. and TRW are all stocked with high-level Republican policy makers.
Frank C. Carlucci, a former secretary of defense under President Reagan, was chairman of B.D.M. for most of the 1990s. Carlucci, who also served as Reagan's national security adviser and a deputy director of the CIA, now heads the Carlyle Group.
Along with former President Bush, other officials from past Republican administrations now at the Carlyle Group include: former Secretary of State James A. Baker III; ex-budget chief Richard Darman; and former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt.
President Bush is himself linked to the Carlyle group: He was a director of one of its subsidiaries, an airline food services company called Caterair, until 1994. Six years later, when Bush was governor of Texas, the board of directors of the Texas teachers' pension fund - some of whom were his appointees - voted to invest $100 million with the Carlyle Group.
The president of B.D.M. is Philip A. Odeen, a former high-level Pentagon official in the Nixon administration. During the Clinton administration, Odeen chaired the Pentagon task force that planned the restructuring of the U.S. military for the 21st century. Currently, he is the vice-chair of the Defense Science Board, which advises the Pentagon on emerging threats.
TRW, the new owner of B.D.M., has its own noteworthy board members, including former CIA director Robert M. Gates and Michael H. Armacost, who served as undersecretary of state under President Reagan and as ambassador to Japan for former President Bush.
Big Saudi money also makes its way back to Texas and the Bush family. The family of Saudi Arabia's longtime U.S. ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, gave $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
The revolving door
Another example of the complex web connecting U.S. and Saudi powerbrokers is Dick Cheney, who moved from the Pentagon to the international oil business and back as vice president last year.
After serving as the elder Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney was hired to run oil-services giant Halliburton Co., where he worked until he resigned last year to campaign with the younger Bush. In 2000, his last year with Halliburton, Cheney received $34 million when he cashed out from the company.
Not surprisingly, Halliburton's links to Cheney and other Washington power brokers appear to have helped the company's business prospects in the Middle East.
Just last month, Halliburton was awarded a $140 million contract to develop an oil field in Saudi Arabia by the kingdom's state-owned petroleum firm, Saudi Aramco, and a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, along with two Japanese firms, was hired by the Saudis to build a $40 million ethylene plant.
Cheney isn't the only member of President Bush's inner circle whose work for firms connected to the Saudis has paid big dividends.
The current national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is a former longtime member of the board of directors of another giant oil conglomerate with business in the Saudi desert, Chevron, which merged with Texaco this year. Rice even has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
Substantial profits received by U.S. leaders in private sector deals with the Saudis have helped to squelch criticism of the royal family's refusal to address the role its country has played in fueling Islamic terrorism, Lewis said.
They say if you follow the money you'll find out the truth, and what we have here is a clear trail of lies, deceit and terrorism activities that leads us right back to the past and current Republican administrations and their connection to Saudi Arabia.
Public outrage is needed now, to shut down the deal and put an end to this.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!