U.S. Plans Sale of 900 Missiles to Saudi Arabia
The Bush administration said it would sell 900 sophisticated satellite-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia as part of a $20 billion arms sale intended to bolster military relations with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states and counter the rising influence of Iran. The missile deal, valued at $123 million, was a mostly symbolic gesture, though the administration worried that some in Congress might object, since the missiles are some of the most accurate produced by the United States. The announcement came in a formal notification to Congress that coincided with Mr. Bush’s arrival here on the sixth day of his tour of the Middle East. It was Mr. Bush’s first visit to the Saudi kingdom, part of an effort to reinvigorate a relationship that has been troubled by Iraq, the fight against terrorism, the threat of Iran and rising oil prices. King Abdullah met Mr. Bush at the airport and joined him in a review of an honor guard before a private meeting between the men on Monday night. The $20 billion package was proposed last summer as a counterweight to a new American commitment to provide Israel with $30 billion in military aid.