WASHINGTON - The US Defense Department notified Congress Wednesday that it plans to sell Saudi Arabia as much as $60 billion worth of weapons to help confront threats from Iran and regional extremists violent.
The proposed weapons sale, which may be the largest to another country in US history if all purchases are made, includes Boeing F-15 fighter jets, attack helicopters and satellite-guided bombs, according to notices sent to Congress. It also contains helicopters made by United Technologies and advanced radar from Raytheon.RELATED:Some Congressmen come out against US-Saudi arms dealWashington Watch: The times they are a-changin’
Congress has 30 days, or until Nov. 20, to stop the sale before the Defense Department and companies proceed into more detailed talks with Saudi Arabia on contracts that, if executed, could extend a decade. Congress will review the proposed sale during its scheduled Nov. 15-19 post-election session.
Colin Kahl, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said that Israel hasn't opposed the sale.
The Israelis "agree that it is in our interests and in the region's interests for Saudi Arabia to have a close relationship to us," Kahl said. "And they also are concerned about the threat emanating from Iran."
The US has worked to ensure that Israel maintains a "qualitative military edge" over other countries in the region, Kahl said.
Israel isn't asking Congress for any particular steps in relation to the
sale, such as hearings or assurances, because any concerns were
discussed with the administration, said Jonathan Peled, a spokesman for
the Israeli Embassy in Washington, without detailing any reservations.
"We're not thrilled about it," Peled said. Still, "we have a good,
continuous and close dialogue with the administration and a strong,
ongoing commitment to maintain Israel's military edge."
Kahl said the Saudi F-15 package also doesn't include "the types of
systems the Israelis would be most concerned about," such as weapons
that can be fired from long distances and could, under certain
scenarios, potentially threaten Israel.