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3 in Congress try to block Saudi arms deal

Sept. 23, 2010 at 8:09 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Three Democratic members of Congress are trying to block a sale of $60 billion in U.S. military aircraft to Saudi Arabia, saying the Saudis are "anti-Israel."

Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Anthony Weiner of New York and Chris Carney of Pennsylvania say Saudi Arabia has not proved itself a reliable partner against terrorist groups, the Las Vegas Sun reported. They said the Saudi government has a record of anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel.

"How do we ever expect them to be honest brokers when they're so obviously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel?" Berkley said. "How are they going to stand with us against Iran?"

The sale would include F-15 fighter jets and Apache, Blackhawk and Little Bird helicopters.

Supporters of the deal point to the hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The kingdom has, despite its anti-Israeli rhetoric, never participated in a war against Israel, the newspaper said.

Congress can block arms sales by voting to stop them within 30 days of official notification by the Defense Department. Saudi Arabia is the biggest international customer for U.S. weaponry.

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