The Middle East Newsline confirms that Saudi Arabia, alarmed by the fall in crude oil prices, was expected to delay the signing of billions of dollars worth of military contracts with the United States.
“Agreements that have not already been converted into contracts will most likely undergo significant delays in 2009,” an industry source said. “The exceptions will be contracts meant to maintain the readiness of the Saudi armed forces.”
In 2008, Saudi Arabia requested several billions of dollars worth of weapons and military systems from the United States. The requests included AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, radars, armored vehicles and aircraft subsystems.
Riyadh has sought to maintain projects meant to modernize the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), commanded by King Abdullah.
SANG, with nearly 100,000 members, was designed to ensure internal and border security and was being transformed into a full-fledged military loyal to the king.
The Israel Security establishment carefully monitors arms supplies to Saudi Arabia, because Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country near Israel that has remained in a formal and active state of war with Israel since the spawning of the Jewish state on May 15, 1948.
On that day, Saudi Arabia joined forces with other Arab armies in a war to liquidate the new state of Israel.
In the context of its continued and consistent state of war with Israel, Saudi Arabia funds and arms Hezbollah, Hamas as well as all Palestinian terror groups at war with the state of Israel.
Egypt and Jordan eventually signed peace treaties with Israel, while Syria and Lebanon signed armistice deals with Israel. However, Saudi Arabia has never agreed to any peace agreement or to any armistice with Israel.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com