Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday revealed details of an extensive arms package totaling $20 billion for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other nearby countries — along with a $30-billion 10-year plan for Israel — with the purported aim of shoring up Middle Eastern states against the potential regional threat posed by Iran.

New York Times:

The proposed package of advanced weaponry for Saudi Arabia, which includes improved satellite-guided bombs, upgrades for its fighter jets and new naval vessels, had made Israel and some of its supporters in Congress nervous. Indeed, even before the administration had announced the package, two Congressmen, Anthony D. Weiner and Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats of New York, held a news conference outside the Saudi Consulate in Manhattan to announce a legislative proposal to block the planned arms sale.

Bush Administration officials said the arms sales are meant in part to act as a bulwark against Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.

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