US plan for arms sales to Saudis stirs reservations in Congress

September 19, 2007 01:12

The Bush administration's proposed multibillion-dollar weapons sale to Saudi Arabia brought new allegations in Congress on Tuesday that the monarchy has been lax in countering terrorism. The kind of weapons that the Saudis would buy and other details, including US conditions on how they might be used, have not been disclosed by the administration. The sale is part of a broader effort to strengthen US friends in the region, with Israel and Egypt due to receive major boosts in military aid. One goal is to counter Iran's hard-line policies, including suspicions that it is building nuclear weapons. Airing the skepticism at a hearing, Democratic Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, said the Bush administration has been unable to persuade Saudi rulers to stop the flow of fighters into Iraq and to attend a proposed regional meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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