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Why is the US arming the Saudis with advanced weaponry?

By Michael Freund
4/20/2007, 12:00 AM

It is simply astonishing that despite its ongoing export of extremism, the Saudis continue to get a free pass from Washington and the West
There were two particularly disturbing bits of news this week regarding Washington's continued kowtowing to the Wahabist extremists in charge of Saudi Arabia.

First, as I reported exclusively in the Jerusalem Post (here) on Monday, the Saudis continue to violate the pledge they gave over a year and a half ago to the Bush Administration to drop the Arab boycott of Israel.

It was based on that promise that the Saudis were granted entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2005, but once they succeeded in joining, they back-tracked on keeping their word. And yet, Washington has done little to call them to account.

And now, there are reports in the media (here) that despite Israel's objections, the US has agreed to sell advanced, satellite-guided smart bombs to the Saudi regime. This, despite the danger of such weapons falling into the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, and the fact that such a sale will dilute Israel's qualitative edge over its enemies.

It is simply astonishing that despite its ongoing export of extremism, the Saudis continue to get a free pass from Washington and the West. For far too long, they have overlooked the dictatorial desert kingdom's mischief and misbehavior.

But as recent years have shown – and particularly the events of September 11, 2001 – such an approach is not only short-sighted, but dangerous too. Instead of strengthening the Saudi regime, the West should be aiming to reform it and replace it.