Saudi Arabia to Raise US Arms Deal to $90 bn

The Peninsula08.07.2011 Security
Saudi Arabia to Raise US Arms Deal to $90 bn

Saudi Arabia to Raise US Arms Deal to $90 bn

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Saudi Arabia plans to raise its arms purchases from the United States to $90 bn from the $60 bn announced last year, as the Kingdom seeks to upgrade it navy, Diplomats in the Gulf said this week.

Last year, US officials said Riyadh planned to buy $60 bn worth of military aircraft, including upgrades to existing fleets.

Saudi Arabia is boosting its defenses as it faces off with Iran for influence in the Gulf Arab region.

Saudi Forces helped Bahrain put down a pro-democracy protest movement this year, fearing that Iran was backing the Shia-led opposition. They also clashed over a year ago with Shia rebels in Yemen, where protesters are seeking the removal of veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Saudi ally.

“There is a plan for Saudi Arabia to spend an extra $ 30bn to upgrade its navy fleet,” said a Western Diplomat in the Gulf. “This extra amount also includes maintenance and training for the Forces,” another Gulf-based Diplomat said.

A Saudi government adviser said he expected the deal to upgrade the navy fleet would be completed soon.

“The chances this deal won’t be finalized are very remote. The money will basically be used to update the eastern fleet,” he said, adding the upgrade was part of a separate program to the $ 60bn plan announced last year.

US officials said last year the $ 60bn program would be complete in 15 to 20 years. It was not clear over how many years the $ 30bn addition would last.

Saudi Arabia has been alarmed by the protest movements that removed allies such as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

 

Source: The Peninsula

 
 



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