Thursday, August 2

The $20b statement

So, what did we accomplish with $20b in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and five Persian Gulf sheikdoms, and a $13m, 10-year aid package to Egypt?

"We got a terrific statement. The key Arab states are now on the record on key issues, especially on Iran," said an unnamed State Department official.

The key countries issued a joint statement that moves beyond the usual concern about the goals of Iran's nuclear program and blames Iran for the region's troubles. According to today's Washington Post, the Arab leaders also backed Mahmoud Abbas, "in what U.S. officials say marks a move away from attempts to negotiate reconciliations between his Fatah faction and the armed Islamic movement Hamas."

I'm not sure it needed the US pledge of a huge arms sale to remind Saudi Arabia's king that his attempt to forge a Fatas-Hamas coalition failed in spectacular fashion.

Well, if his highness is in the right mood, we might also get a Saudi embassy in Baghdad out of the arms deal. And Saudi attendance at yet another planned Middle East peace conference.

If Pundita hears of one more peace conference, I will begin to worry that things are looking like the runup to World War One.

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