28 July 2007

Another MidEast Gamble

US 'plans huge Saudi arms deal'

In a huge strategic gamble, the Bush Administration plans to sell the conservative republic of Saudi Arabia 20 billion dollars worth of sophisticated weaponry to counter the growing strength of Iran in the region. Iran is far from a friend of liberal freedoms in the world. In fact, they are so brutally repressive towards basic human liberties, that they make King George and his neocon collaborators look nice in comparison. Iran is an ultra conservative power in the region that must be dealt with at some point and time. The main question is how and when.

Let us review some of the strategic gambles the US has taken in the Middle East in the past. To counter Soviet alliances among Arab republics, the Pentagon gave a vast arsenal to our current ally in the region, the Shah in Iran. Being shortsighted as the military industrial complex often proves to be, they failed to predict a mass popular uprising in that country in 1979.
Following the horrific events of that tragedy, they fueled one Saddam Hussein with massive amounts of weaponry to counter the Islamic republic in Iran. Again, failing to see things as they really are, Hussein turned out to be a brutal dictator, more bent on his own ambitions than anything else. Iraq soon turned its new arms on a territorial gambit with Kuwait. The first and second wars ensued (and let me say, the second was completely unnecessary).

Which brings us to this latest gamble. The Pentagon argues that Saudi Arabia is steady ally in the region that supports a march towards not only Western, but humanistic values (basic freedoms of human beings) and is prepared to support them with the brute force of advanced weaponry. What if, now this a hypothetical, but the question must be asked, WHAT IF this sale turns out to once again go to support some force of evil in the region? It would be testimony to the failure of the central forces in the US once again to be a force for good in the region.

We must tread very carefully in this hornets nest of regions. Giving deadly weapons to a country based on poor evidence could backfire yet again on us.