Rice: New arms sales to counter ”negative” influences by Al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, Iran and Syria
The United States is forging new military aid pacts with Gulf states, Israel and Egypt to counter "negative" influences by Al-Qaeda and Hizbullah, as well as Syria and Iran, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said Monday. According to her, the new multibillion dollar military sales package will help secure Iraq and promote stability in the Persian Gulf.
"To support our continued diplomatic engagement in the region, we are forging new assistance agreements with the Gulf States, Israel, and Egypt," she said ahead of a Middle East trip with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The move, she said, according to AFP, "will help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of Al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran."
"We are helping to strengthen the defensive capabilities of our partners and we plan to initiate discussions with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states on a proposed package of military technologies that will help support their ability to secure peace and stability in the Gulf region," she said.
The new sales to Arab states, mainly Saudi Arabia, would be counterbalanced with a more than 25 percent hike in military aid to Israel over the next 10 years. According to the AP, Israel will receive a total of $30 billion in U.S. military assistance while Egypt, which along with Jordan will get $13 billion as part of the broader package.