Thinking more about the meaning of the new Middle Eastern arms sales

The Times has an editorial today which examines some of the issues raised in my post yesterday, The Endless War becomes a Regional War. 

An excerpt:

The Bush administration and Saudi Arabia’s ruling family have a lot in common, including oil, shared rivals like Iran and a penchant for denial that has allowed both to overlook the Saudis’ enabling role in the Sept. 11 attacks. But their recent wrangling over Iraq cannot be denied or papered over with proposals for a big new arms sale. And if these differences are not tackled, there is an increased likelihood that the war’s chaos will spread far beyond Iraq’s borders.

While Washington hasn’t protested publicly, Riyadh is pouring money into Sunni opposition groups and letting Saudis cross the border to join Sunni insurgents fighting the American-backed, Shiite-led government. Washington estimates that nearly half of the 60 to 80 foreign fighters entering Iraq each month come from Saudi Arabia....

Congressional leaders need to quickly assess the long-term implications of the Surge, Part II , the just-announced arms sales to Israel and the Sunni-led Arab governments in the Middle East.  Has the Administration settled on a longer term strategic plan for the region, a Cold War like containment policy towards the area's rising power, Iran, as is suggested in an excellent piece by Robin Wright in the Post today? And does this involve throwing the current Shiite-led Iraqi government under the bus? And if that is the case what exactly are our troops doing in Iraq then? Propping up a government and a nation we've already strategically abandoned?

For all the saber rattling at Iran for meddling inside Iraq - Joe Lieberman has called it a de facto declaration of war against the United States - there is substantial publically-available evidence that the Sunni governments of the Middle East are much more actively funding their end of the emerging proxy war in Iraq than the Iranians are.  Where is the public outrage over the Saudi's funding of insurgents regularly killing the US? Or of the Egyptian government's support of a bootlegged Sunni TV station in Iraq that regularly celebrates the deaths of American servicemen?

For those wanting to learn more about all this, I would strongly suggest checking into the thinking of noted Tufts University scholar, Vali Nasr.  You can watch an interview I did with him recently, and learn more about how to buy his compelling book here.