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August 13, 2007
A terrorism analyst for Fox News says instead of giving Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in complex weapons, the U.S. should be using the money to help prevent the spread of Wahabbi Islam and deter future generations of jihadists.
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The Bush administration plans to send the Saudis up to $20 billion in advanced weaponry, including satellite-guided bombs, upgrades to its fighter jets and new naval vessels.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says the arms sale is designed to protect U.S. allies against the growing threat from Iran.
Dr. Walid Phares is author of the book The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy. He says an idealistic alternative to the Saudi arms deal would be spending a billion dollars to aid the Iranian opposition.
"Inside Iran you have ethnic minorities: Kurds, Arabs, Azaries,” says Phares, “and also among the majority ethnic Persians, you do have large sectors such as women, students, unions, artists, who are criticizing the regime."
Phares says if a "war of ideas" is not waged by the Saudis, al Qaeda may very well wage its own ideological war, defeat the Saudis, and then take control of the weapons the Saudis are buying from the U.S.
"If they really want a defense against Iran,” he says, “all they have to do is urge the Americans to move their base from Qatar to Saudi Arabia and any attack against Saudi Arabia would be an attack against the United States. So that would be a much smarter, cheaper, and more efficient way to defend the kingdom. And, of course, help people in the region to surge against the Iranian regime."
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