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America's Christmas Present to Her Favorite Despots

Hold that thought about democracy in the Middle East while we sell $60 billion of military hardware to the princes of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. closed the first $30 billion half of a major arms deal Thursday to send 84 F-15 fighter jets to a country that only this month beheaded a woman convicted of witchcraft.

The U.S. will also help upgrade 70 existing Saudi jets as part of the package, which is the first installment of a major arms agreement that will also send helicopters and munitions to the kingdom.

Of course the whole deal is built around Washington’s obsessive fear of Iran, as the BBC relays from a State Department official:

In Washington, senior state department official Andrew Shapiro said it would send “a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East”.

“It will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty,” he added.

Since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the other poles in the region, and the U.S. has promised to continue to arm both for the foreseeable future. — PZS

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