Congress Postures on Saudi Arms Deal


Hundreds of members of Congress have written a letter to the executive branch asking for more details about the US-Saudi Arms deal. While the arms deal is likely to still go through, members of Congress are positioning themselves to appear concerned about the sale’s implications for Israel.

Specifically, these members of Congress are seeking a guarantee that the arms will not be used against Israel, and that the military superiority in the region will belong to Israel.

Paul Richter of the Los Angeles Times reports:

“In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, 198 members of the House of Representatives complained about Saudi policies, and said they “would like to know how these sales will affect Israel’s qualitative military edge.”

These members of congress appear unfamiliar with the fact that, by design, the military edge will still belong to Israel, given that the US sells the more advanced F-35 to the Israelis. Technically, Saudi Arabia would be incapable tipping the “qualitative military edge” in their favor.

It is likely that this political show will be short lived, because the number one concern on the voters’ minds two weeks ago was the economy. The US-Saudi arms deal will help to create jobs in many congressional districts, and gives no military edge to the Saudis and in fact, actually strengthens Israel in case of regional war, as it is likely Saudi Arabia would side with other Arab states and the United States, at least.