Strange Doings

Something doesn't add up here, eh? Just yesterday, Helen Cooper, Mark Mazzetti, and Jim Rutenberg reported for The New York Times on "Saudis’ Role in Iraq Frustrates U.S. Officials". Specifically:

One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki. He declined to say whether that support was going to Sunni insurgents because, he said, “That would get into disagreements over who is an insurgent and who is not.”

The officials speaking to The New York Times had to stay anonymous because "openly criticizing Saudi Arabia would further alienate the Saudi royal family at a time when the United States is still trying to enlist Saudi support for Mr. Maliki and the Iraqi government, and for other American foreign policy goals in the Middle East, including an Arab-Israeli peace plan." Nevertheless, the sources were "clearly intent on sending a pointed signal to a top American ally" in part "because it appears that Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to undermine the Maliki government."

Today, though, comes a different Times article, David Cloud's "U.S. Set to Offer Huge Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia". This $20 billion package had been getting held up by Israeli concerns, but "senior officials who described the package on Friday said they believed that the administration had resolved those concerns, in part by promising Israel $30.4 billion in military aid over the next decade, a significant increase over what Israel has received in the past 10 years."

Putting this all together, we're going to give Israel billions of dollars in bribes in order to get them to not object to our decision to sell huge quantities of advanced weaponry to a country that is arming the people we're fighting in Iraq. Makes sense to me!

Photo by Flickr user al-Fassam used under a Creative Commons license

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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