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14 September 2010


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I think this is a two track policy. The money angle is pretty obvious, but now that Iraq is now longer a counterweight to Iran, one must be created, even if it turns out to be a largely theoretical counterweight.

I also hear the Saudi's are interested in replacing their aging CSS-2 missiles (Or maybe they are already), so it will be interesting to see if the US supports a Chinese replacement.


Isn't the F-15 getting a little long in the tooth? If you want a shiny static display, why bother with *last* year's model?

R Whitman

Didn't the Saudis purchase 75 Eurofighters several years ago. Are they worn out??


Rick Francona wrote that the US wanted the Saudis to fire their CSS-2 missiles at Iraq during the First Gulf war.

The Saudis refused. The question is why. Because they didn't really want to? Because the missiles were not ready and they couldn't? Both?


PS: If the missiles weren't ready that would say something about the Saudi ability to maintain complex weapon systems (and/or about the quality Chinese weapons)

Medicine Man

I imagine that the US would like to keep the last year's model for themselves; or at least I hope so.

Cato the Censor

This may simply be displaying my military ignorance, but aren't manned fighter jets basically obsolete anyway in an era of drones? Just curious.

Eric Dönges

R. Whitman,

the Eurofighter deal is only worth approx. 10 billion US dollars (according to the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia). As Colonel Lang has pointed out, the real reason for this deal is probably that certain members of the Saudi Royal family will be able to skim a bit off the top; when we're talking about almost 100 billion dollars, even just a bit is very very lucrative.

As to why F15s - the Saudis already operate F15s, the F35 isn't ready, and the F22 isn't for sale. Buying more Typhoons would just piss of Washington and risk having the U.S. scuppering the deal with some behind-the-scenes arm twisting.

Charlie Wilson

Sounds like welfare for the rich. Saudi's should be forced to park these pieces of junk within first strike distance of Israel so they can all be taken out within a few minutes. They would have to buy them all over again. What a scam! They must have Madoff on a work release programme.

C W (dubya)



Of course the Israelis had to and stick their stinky noses in the Saudi arms deal.

Report: U.S. downgrades Saudi arms deal over Israeli concerns

Patrick Lang

They tried to put them in the Air Targeting Order but Fat Norman took them out. Why did they want to do that? They wanted to be treated like adults. pl

SubKommander Dred

5% 'commission" on 90 billion dollars...like I said in an earlier thread, give me some of that wonga.

Pete Deer

Patrick Lang


and the social safety net is quite surprising. When I was Defatt in SA my five predecessors in the job were all in SA in retirement working for Saudi companies. 'Nough said? pl


C. W.

No way. Israel needs their AIPAC boys in Congress to scupper the deal, then SA can buy some Russian/European systems and Israel's boy Nozette and/or colleagues can steal the technology off the F15/22/35, sell it off to someone else formerly in the Soviet sphere of influence. Thus helping not only their AF but ensuring said technology is then sold to Russia, etc. The US, of course, is forced spend even more on the next new, new aircraft.

THEN you have a real US 'jobs' program, one that is 'strong on national defense'; the well connected in Congress get yet another reelection, AIPAC and their boys get another year of job security and the Saudi Royal's, why surely Boeing's competitor will pay more than a 5% commission? Not to mention the next commission further down the line when the next generation shows up.

That's win win all around, twice the commissions, twice the betrayal of the US by Nozette's employers, all fully supported by the strong on defense press and congress, something surely to be investigation free by either body. Why what's not to love about that? (unless you are one of those pesky un-connected US taxpayers, of course).


This may simply be displaying my military ignorance, but aren't manned fighter jets basically obsolete anyway in an era of drones?

For one thing, no country has declared that they have air superiority drones. Until those are developed, manned fighters will continue to be necessary. I think you're right to worry, Cato; increasingly advanced drones are likely to make these F-15s obsolete in the near future.



Anything that soaks up oil dollars has to be good for the USA. Even better, if Boeing builds more F-15 airframes in St. Louis.

I assume the drying up of excess Sunni oil money and replacing it with American cash in Anbar Province was an important factor in preventing Iraq from disintegrating, for now.

I just finished watching the first year of the Canadian TV show “Intelligence” on DVD. I thought it was great. Vancouver BC weed dealers have the same problem as the leaders of Saudi Arabia and China; how to launder all the cash? Smashing description of bureaucratic infighting. I wasn’t turned off by the portrait of American Intelligence and Drug Enforcement agents and their infiltration of Canada. I was already disillusioned by the crazy invasion of Iraq and George Tenent’s nodding approval of Colin Powell’s UN fabrications.

Will Israel turn their other cheek and acquiesce to the Saudi-American money laundering scheme or fight it in Congress because one or two newer model F-15s might rise up to contest their overflights to Iran?

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

With a more than $3,000,000,000.00 gift of US taxpayer money (perhaps better described as borrowed funds backed by future US-taxpayer remissions), the Israelis have little to complain about. After all, we just agreed to spend even more money (some quarter billion!) on their home grown "Iron Dome" system. That alone will keep many Israelis employed while US workers stand in the unemployment line.

Now, if the Obama Administration's timing of this announced deal has something to do with putting a little squeeze on Bibi during the current parley, then my estimation of their policy skills will rise a lot. Personally, I suspect the announcement timing has everything to do with Congress' schedule, statutory notification timelines (in session, at least 30 days before moving forward) and the upcoming elections which greatly strain even the AIPAC Congress to the point that they cannot even consider blocking the sale (this requires a joint resolution) - no matter how loud the Israel-Firsters bellow.

And of course, the royal "finders fees" that are burning holes in the pockets of many princes doesn't hurt! Undoubtedly, many on K-Street are just as well lubricated by foreign and domestic interests wanting to see this much cash launder through the system. Who knows? Maybe those royals will use their fees to buy some new fancy airliners or yachts and put some more American workers back on payroll?? Cream on top of the cake!


Adam L Silverman

VietnamVet: Saudi launders it's money through BAE Systems, which was recently found guilty in Britain, albeit on reduced charges that did not lead to the breakup of the company (they were facing such stiff penalties that the company was potentially at risk for dissolution), of bribery. The Guardian in the UK has done yeoman's work covering this and the link below leads to one of their omnibus coverage pages:

John Kirkman

So you are Captain Steve Canyon, USAF, current on the F-15 and have just run out of patience with the military and put your resignation in the IN basket. The airline gig is no longer appealing so maybe the Saudi's could use some talent? I wonder how the Pentagon brass, and the Israelis, among others would view that.


This arms deal will come back to haunt the U.S.


@Charles. This is really nothing new. Here's a rather old summation:
F-15 production has been extended into 1999 by orders for 72 F-15S aircraft for Saudi Arabia. Peace Sun IX is an F-15 Foreign Military Sales production program, with development, to deliver 72 F-15S aircraft including support equipment, spares, and training to the Royal Saudi government. Saudi Arabia has purchased a total of 62 F-15C and D aircraft and later procured the F-15S, which is a two-seater aircraft based on the F-15E airframe, with downgraded avionics, downgraded LANTIRN pods, and a simplified Hughes APG-70 radar without computerised radar mapping. Four F-15S Eagles were delivered in 1995. On 10 November 1999 the last of 72 F-15S aircraft was delivered to Saudi Arabia. In November 1995 Saudi Arabia purchased 556 GBU-15 Guided Bomb Units (including six training units), 48 data link pods, personnel training and training equipment and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $371 million. Saudi Arabia would use the GBU-15s to enhance the stand off attack capability of the F-15S aircraft.

The 84 "new" F-15s are just more of the same. And as to "shorter ranged weapons," there's simply nothing to it.

@PL, it's "air tasking order" and I'm pretty sure "Norman" never took the CSS-2's out, nor were they ever offered except in a bantering way by Prince Bandar in your office one day during the run up to Desert Storm. Do you recall the conversation?

Patrick Lang


I like the nom de guerre. Hey, you don't really expect me to get all the arcana of aerowhatsis right do you? I always knew you would keep me straight on that. But, since the ATO would include non strike sorties I see the logic. As for the Saudi MRBM's I vaguely remember him joshing about that, but I also understand that Rick says in one of his books/articles that the Sauds tried to slip them into the ATO. somebody else told me that as well, someone who was there. Ritchie, maybe? pl


I don't believe the ATO story; it sounds cool, but what Bandar said implied nukes--it was clearly a joke. I don't think that ATO had a place for ballistic weapons, but of course it HAS been a long, long time.

Why didn't we ever get any of those Cuban cigars Bandar was carrying around?

Patrick Lang


Yes, Bandar implied that even though they had no nukes and we knew that, but with regard to the ATO you know that this was a combined HQ with the Saudis and the document had to be staffed with the Saudi side. pl


Will the Saudis need to hire infantry soldiers as well?

Where do I get in on that?

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