July 28th, 2007
07:48 AM ET
11 years ago

U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia in works

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A senior administration official confirmed to CNN on Saturday that the United States is developing a proposed $20 billion, 10-year arms sales package for Saudi Arabia aimed at giving the Saudi military an upgraded capability to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf region.

The proposed sale was first reported in the New York Times.

The official spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity because discussions remain ongoing with the Saudis. And, none of the terms of the package have been finalized.

The future of the package is expected to reverberate in Israel, which has been concerned about Saudi arms deals in the past.

"This is all about Iran," said the official, who noted that the Bush administration is mindful at the same time that Israel must maintain its "qualitative edge" in the region.

One of the most potentially controversial portions of the proposed sale will be the first sale to the Saudis of satellite-guided bombs known as JDAMs. The sale may include both a 500-pound and 2,000 pound version of the aerial bomb.

The Israelis are said to be very concerned about the Saudis having that precision-strike capability. so the United States will discuss basing the weapons as far away from Israel as possible, the official said.

Other elements of the sale include new naval vessels, an advanced version of air-to-air missiles already used by the United States and advanced Patriot missiles.

This entire matter is expected to be a major portion of a meeting next week between Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Saudi officials.

The sale would have to be approved by Congress and the Bush administration is talking about the package at an early stage to avoid opposition from and controversy among lawmakers.

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Oh fabulous idea. The one thing we definitely need is to sell them more arms to kill us with. Bravo! I'm guessing they forgot 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia?

    July 28, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. John, Michigan

    And in return?

    July 28, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. C.MacLean, Raleigh, NC

    That's the way to insure peace in the region – sell guns. Sell bombs. Boosts our economy, helps our trade deficit concerning Saudi oil, and sends those pesky Iranians a message.

    It's the American way.

    Except – weren't those Saudis flying the planes into the twin towers?

    Hmmm. Makes you wonder which side our government is really on.

    July 28, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Mrs. America

    Pres. Bush forgets that for the terrorists, toppling the ruling Saudi family would be even more thrilling than nailing the U.S. (or Britain or whoever) again–and the Saudi gov't (family) is a fragile one. If toppled, it would be just one more case of people using our own arms (training, etc.) against us. Don't you ever think about tomorrow, Mr. Bush?

    July 28, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. k. griffin, salem, oregon

    again, substantiates my thoughts that the entire 911 event was part of a horrible conspiracy; i hate to think this, but i believe george bush et al are responsible if not for the perpetration then they KNEW AND DID NOTHING. saudi citizens made up the majority of the 911 hijackers, if there even was a hijacking!!! this adminitration and the corporations who care little for the citizens of this country just about slipped the dubai port deal through, now this!! we are in dire straits in this country and i hope people will WAKE UP, we are now just about living in a dictatorship right here in the united states of america.

    July 28, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Allen, Redlands CA

    We did the same thing in Afganistan (fighting the Russians) and Iraq (fighting Iran). The idea: "The enemey of my enemy is my friend." has always backfired and probably will again in this case. Too bad the president knows, or cares jack about history. There is a greater-than-zero chance that these weapons will be used against us in a future attack. So much for the president protecting us.

    July 28, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Gary, San Diego, CA

    what side is the US on? The Israelis? The Arabs? As always, we supply the weapons that are eventually used against us and our allies.

    What a country!

    July 28, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Doro, Portland, Oregon

    If there's even a 1% chance that they will use it against humanity, let's don't sell.

    July 28, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. pete, fort lauderdale, fl

    all i want to know is: how much of a kick back is bush/cheney going to get out of this. 10 billion or the whole enchillada. these 2 morons don't give a hoot about america. they are just in it for the cash!

    July 28, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. John Salsbury Ocean Park, WA

    I wonder how long it will take for these arms to find their way into terrorists hands? The distribution plan is probably already in place, and soon the first US soldier will be killed by a weapon provided by his/her commander in chief. Gee, would that be considered "friendly fire"?

    July 28, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Hj newport news Va

    America's, a joke to the world, and the media or the ones with their hands up the Media's butt's, got to be laughing their Butt's off. Tell me when our troops are coming home, Homes for the Homeless but this
    or, OMG, I refuse to say her name. As male or female here's the deal, Why were you starring at her Cleavage anyway, MMMM, looking is one thing, but starring can make some people Hot, some females may become extremely hot because of, their lack of endowment and as far as, the Men/Dogs of America it's shameful how most Males have no control over their body members and in Washington D C, that's America's best keep secret,
    So when are you guys going to pass a bill executing the Corrupted?

    July 28, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. Linda Minier

    Why are we sending more arms to that area? We shouldn't be sending anything over there as it will all end up in the wrong hands. Bush has endangered all of us with his close relationship with the Arabs. L. Minier Fresno, Ca.

    July 28, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. fedupwithourgov't

    UNBELIEVABLE! History shows these weapons will be used against us one day.

    Bush/Cheney are in bed with the Saudi's...no doubt about it!

    I'll bet their off-shore bank accounts benefit from this.

    And Rice is totally pathetic!

    What a disgrace this is!

    July 28, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Seth, Abilene Texas

    history repeats itself. we give the afghan's one billion dollars and caseloads of rockets to help us fight the "threat" of communism in the 1980's. then they knock down our towers. now we're doing the same thing all over again. wow. sleep easy, united states.

    July 29, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. Publius

    As a previous commenter referenced above, history should be our guide in these transactions. The bin Laden-led Afghan Arabs sold the weapons we provided them with to fight the Soviets because, as bin Laden himself said (when asked by Rumsfeld in the '80s), "we don't trust you not to abandon us, like you abandoned the Vietnamese." Very telling.

    Also, for the record, what the heck was HJ from Newport News above talking about? Anybody understand that?

    July 29, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  16. jessie - westminster, md

    It should not surprise anyone that the Bush Administration would support this kind of move. The Bush family always had some kind of connection with Saudi Arabia – which teaches their children to hate the U.S. at a very early age.

    Bush needs to be impeached for the continuously bad choices he makes for America and Cheney needs to step down before he has another heart attack.

    We need great leaders to clean up the nasty messes that these so called leaders keep putting us in. I fear that another 9/11 will happen and most of the terrorist will be from Saudi Arabia using the weapons that we supplied. What a joke! I say before Bush leaves office – his popularity number will be in the teens! It wouldn't surprise me one bit!

    July 29, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  17. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Geez, even Microsoft has limits on what they can sell to Arab countries.

    What a joke. IRAN already has F-14's and F-16's that we sold them. Now they want to sell more advanced technology weapons to the Middle East???? Weapons that will probably be used to kill our own soldiers, if not used in an attack directly on American soil.

    And a huge part of this is not about the weapons themselves, but the technology advances they will gain by getting and analyzing these weapons. Then, soon, they will be able to build them themselves.

    Impeach Bush and Cheney now!!

    July 29, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. Mick, Boston

    Are we crazy? The Saudis (I am talking about our 'friends' the Royal Family- not even the extermists) are the ones funding the Islamic schools all over the world which preach hate and murder.
    How can we sell them weapons? We must convince our politicians to reject this...

    July 29, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. erika morgan black dimond wa

    I saw where there was an arms grant, from the US Congress to Saudi Arabia, to buy these arms. If you give money from the US treasury to purchase from American manufactures that is a gift to those manufacturers not a sale. It is a way of transferring US treasury dollars to private US citizens, is this not illegal? And why do we need to give grants to Saudi Arabia, they are fleecing the taxpayer on fuel already, and are within the top five richest countries. These law makers have lost every sense of balance as a group, I doubt individually they have any smarts at all.

    July 29, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. erika morgan black dimond wa

    At least we've been warned of the Republicans fondest hope. The truth is Republicans are toast for 2008, though that may be the plan, the conspiracy theories are sounding more and more plausible to me.

    I always was leery of the egocentrism of the Republican platform of self responsibility, self accountability etc. It is OK to expect this of oneself, but in dealing with others it seemed very unchristian, undemocratic, and anti-"for the common good", in short the work of the devil. It is coordinating the common good that I perceive is the job and purpose of government; if we all are in it just for ourselves with zero responsibility for others I call that anarchy.

    July 29, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Congress can still say no to the sale, which I suspect they wont..

    Also, this type of sale has been going on for years. The US is one of,(if not the largest), arms dealers in the world. Why are any of you surprised by this?

    Finally, where was the outrage when Slick and Company sold nuclear technology to the Chinese. Where is the outrage any time military technology is sold?

    July 30, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Arual, Moreno Valley, CA

    I really am So Mad!!!! :-(( That we (The USA)>>Via "Madman Bush" Is sending arms to the Saudi's

    Uh what part of 9/11 don't WE get here???

    Uh what part Of Al-Queda/Bin Laden being from Saudia Arabia don't
    we get here???

    Now I Know Bush IS Completely Schizo-Socio/Psychopathic..Lunatic etc etc etc...
    Good Gawd!!!

    July 30, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. NoNAUandNWO Madison, WI

    Arms-sale mother lode to Saudi Arabia is a reward for the supportive role its been playing in Iraq, right? Not quite, since "United States officials contend [it's playing] a counterproductive role in Iraq."
    But at the very least, the U.S. will - will it not? - seek specific assurances from Saudi Arabia that it will be more supportive of the American effort in Iraq as a condition of receiving the arms package? Again, not quite, since it is reported that "the administration has not sought specific assurances from Saudi Arabia that it would be more supportive of the American effort in Iraq as a condition of receiving the arms package." Adding to the destabilization, however, is that all this talk of shipping satellite-guided weaponry to the Saudis is - surprise! - making Israel "nervous." But, yet again, not to worry. For the way to de-destabilize and de-nerve the nervous is to double down - let's say, "by promising Israel $30.4 billion in military aid over the next decade..., an increase of nearly 43 percent." Thus our modern-day Metternichs and military-industrial machine happily comingle the idiosyncratic logic of drug-dealing gangsterism and advanced-weaponry brinkmanship. That is, as we modernize their forces, we can upgrade Israel's, so we can then counterbalance with more modernization, so we can then re-upgrade Israel's ... Yes, things should turn out just fine.

    July 31, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Rick, Hattiesburg MS

    Interesting how people are so bothered by this. I mean we give Israel weapons all the time. Not only that but we have been competing with Russia for arms deals for years now in this region. Why does Egypt get technology from us?

    August 5, 2007 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  25. Abdullah,Jeddah,Saudi Arabia

    i understand what you all are concerned about and understand the pain that wont be cured of 911. the whole univers is sorry for that tragidy. but people who did it are so unhappy coz it didn't effect the U.S. as a great country. yet,the fact that 19 of the hijackers were saudis doesn't tell me that where they came from is a terrorist country. the saudi goverment is doing whatever it takes to shuttdown those terrorists activeties. yes, saudi arabia is a rich country but the sad fact that it is so damn behind on technology specially in security and safety. we had so many tragedies here in saudi arabia that the goverment failed to turndown. but there is few success. but mostly the bad people "terrorists" are three stips ahead. its getting better now. this military upgrade will help alot. its not only about weapon. its everything a country needs for internal security. Saudi Arabia have never been an enemy or a threat to the U.S.

    i love the USA and so the people of my country. and, whoever hates it, means its goverment "Mr.Bush" who most of the americans hates. and all what have been said about the royal family of being a fragile. well, it is a Kingdom and yes there is a royal family but its not the family who is ruling. its the King. and talking about him: the king Abdullah is a great man who want to correct so many things before he passout. didn't you guys noticed lately that somany saudi students were sent to the US on a govermental scholership? he acknowledge that his country needs all the modern technology in ervrything you name it. to get a very very good doctor, detective, police man, investegator, teatcher..etc which we don't have much.

    its not the saudi goverment nor saudi people who are what the whole world is afrade of or fear. its the terrorists who can be in any race and nationality. we heard of some eygeptions, some south african, some americans, some iraqies, some indonesians .... etc addetional to some saudis. that doesn't make the whole univers a big terrorist. those people is (alqaida) who are so intrested in finding a so desperate person, that abuot to commit suicide, in any age, any sex, any race, any nationality, with a bit of brain wash and some training and wallah, you have a new born terrorist. and then they are like bacteria. they get bigger and bigger but only if they find a good inviroment. like iraq and afganistan at the first place where no security at all. then the middle east due to security is in asleep.

    and finally as a human being, May GOD save the whole world from those whom not only murdered and scared our brothers and sisters but also made us distrust and doubt eacht other wich is might be their plan. amen.

    August 10, 2007 03:32 am at 3:32 am |