30 December 2011

Huge US Deal to Sell F15s to Saudis

What the heck, theSaudis probably have $30 billion laying around their couch cushions.

The Obama administration on Thursday hailed a new $30 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia as both a hedge against Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf and an economic windfall that could create thousands of U.S. jobs over the next decade.

The agreement to sell 84 top-of-the line F-15SA fighter jets to the Saudi air force also provided a needed boost to U.S. relations with the oil-rich kingdom after months of strain over the White House’s response to the Arab Spring uprisings, U.S. officials and Middle East analysts said.

The deal, which was finalized after more than a year of negotiations, was announced during a week of increased tensions with Iran, which has renewed its threat to block ship traffic through the Strait of Hormuz in response to international economic sanctions. The administration has pursued a policy of supplying advanced weapons systems to friendly Arab states to keep Iran’s regional ambitions in check.

“This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the gulf and broader Middle East,” Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told reporters.

What do you think - good idea? Bad idea? Is this sale mainly a diplomatic move, a security move, or an economic move?

By: Brant

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