shady business

Bush seeks big boost in arms for Mideast "allies"

[This may or may not be directly relevant, but something smells fishy here. Giving lots of weapons to Israel and Saudi Arabia while the Bush family doubtless rakes in millions can't be a good thing.]

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration will ask Congress to expand multibillion-dollar aid and weapons sales packages to friendly nations in the Middle East, partly to counteract Iran, senior administration officials said Friday.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will announce proposed extensions and enlargements of foreign aid to Israel and Egypt and a proposed arms sales package to Persian Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia before she leaves on a trip to the region on Monday, the officials said.

Details of the proposed deal come as some U.S. officials contend that the Saudi government is not helping the situation in Iraq. The proposed package of advanced weapons for Saudi Arabia has also stoked concern in Israel and among its U.S. backers because it includes satellite-guided bombs, upgrades for its fighters and new naval vessels — systems that theoretically could be used for strikes on Israeli territory.