Details about what is in the package remain thin, and likely will for some time.
The short term economic downturn has colored popular perceptions of the governments financial management and sharpened the distinctions among the social groups. commercial successes has generated criticism of the U. in sectors of Saudi society which believe incorrectly that the U. has pressed the Saudi government to make unwanted or unneeded purchases," said the State Department. companies are responsible for Saudi economic problems." (For a copy of Rep.In other words, Memorandums of Intent are nice, but don't represent real deals.One source familiar with discussions around the package said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency could be clearing deals related to this package for the next "five to six years," and said about ten percent of the package were items that have already been cleared by DSCA and notified to Congress.of Defense in Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and Military Assistance Facts; the most current online edition includes information through FY 1999.)Oil rich Saudi Arabia is a cash-paying customer. (Check out the Offsets Monitoring Project for more information on this phenomenon.) The United States has very close and long-running military ties to the Saudi regime dating back to 1945. However, several concerns have been raised about this close military cooperation and the related sales of sophisticated arms. A flurry of expensive arms sales followed the 1990-91 Gulf War. jet sale, Saudi Arabia has been making noises about buying more F-15s, which Israel opposes. government has dramatically raised the standard of combat aircraft and munitions of U. allies in the region, many of whom are engaged in a "cold peace" with each other. In lobbying Congress for production funds for its F-22 fighter, Lockheed cites the widespread proliferation of very capable combat aircraft, like the Russian Mi G-29 and the American-made F-15 and F-16.Following the 1990-91 war against Iraq, more than 5,000 U. These concerns are: Many of the systems on order, such as the M-1A2 Abrams main battle tank, M-2A2 Bradley armored vehicles, F-15E Strike Eagle attack aircraft and Patriot surface-to-air missile, are the top-of-the-line systems deployed with U. However, long before Iraq invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia sought to obtain Americas most sophisticated weaponry in order to counterbalance its much more populous regional rivals-Iran and Iraq. had declined to export this missile to countries in the region. Saudi Arabia has threatened the United States not to base decisions future export decisions on regional security and avoiding arms races: Officials in the Saudi capital have hinted that the kingdom may look elsewhere for a replacement for the F-5 if the USA continues to link future military sales to Israeli security concerns. Large-scale sales of advanced conventional weapons to our Middle Eastern allies play into the threat perceptions of "unfriendly" governments as well, in this case Iran and Iraq, spurring them to seek countervailing weapons. And, completing the circle, the military services and industry justify development and production of next-generation weapons on the basis of arms being acquired by Third World nations, including previously-exported U. From 1987-97 Saudi Arabia is estimated to have spent 2 billion (constant 1997 dollars) on its military, with its annual military expenditure consuming on average 18 percent of GNP. State Department, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1998) Low oil prices, a billion tab for the 1991 Gulf War, and tens of billions of dollars worth of new weapons have led to large budget deficits for the past several years. A January 1994 deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia extends payment and delivery schedules for outstanding weapons orders; less important orders may be postponed.