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October 26, 1990 - Image 116

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-10-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ANALYSIS

If you enjoyed
reading
Robert Fulghum,
wait till you hear
him speak.

See the best-selling author of
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW
I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
in a special personal appearance.
Friday, November 9, 1990
7:00-11:00 pm at the Northfield Hilton

It's Roeper School's Fiftieth Birthday Gala and Awards Evening.

Not too long ago author Robert Fulghum told the world that the corner-
stones of a productive life were really the same rules of common sense and
caring that every child knows. Or should know.
Nobody understands that better than we do. For fifty years Roeper
School has been helping children become adults who live by those values.
Join us Friday, November 9th for a fascinating live appearance by
Robert Fulghum and to honor some of the Detroit area's finest HAPPY
FIFTIETH
examples of the simple values we should never forget.

Golden Apple Award Recipients: Father William
Cunningham, Commissioner Gil Hill, The Hitch Family, Sue
Marx, Roeper Alumni and George and Annemarie Roeper

For ticket information, call Roeper: 642-1500.

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116

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1990

The Saudi Arms Deal:
Real Or Smokescreen?

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

I

s it possible that the Bush
administration's planned
sale of $20 billion- in arms
to Saudi Arabia — the
largest arms sale in history
— was primarily a
smokescreen?
That's one of the operative
theories here, where Wash-
ington and the Mideast have
one thing in common:
nothing is quite what it
seems.
Take, for example, the diz-
zying events surrounding
the arms sale:
Last week pro-Israel ac-
tivists on the Hill were grin-
ding their teeth over au-
thoritative reports that the
Saudi sale would amount to
more than $20 billion.
Legislators friendly to
Israel were indicating that
there was little chance of
stopping the sale. And
representatives of the Israeli
government were quietly
saying that the Saudi arms
sale did not particularly
bother them — but that, in
return, they expected some
goodies of their own, in-
cluding new weapons and
substantial increases in
Israel's foreign aid.
Early in the week, there
was some talk, led by Rep.
Larry Smith (D-Fla.), about
splitting the arms sale in
two —providing quick con-
gressional assent to those
weapons the Saudis needed
for their immediate defense,
but putting the rest of the
package on the back burner
until Congress could con-
sider them more thoroughly.
But reports surfaced that
the administration was con-
sidering scaling back the
arms sale in response to
strong congressional
pressure — a reaction that
caught some of the legis-
lators who normally lead the
charge against arms sales by
surprise.
But even as administra-
tion sources were leaking in-
formation about their
retreat from the full $20
billion, they were also talk-
ing about their desire to
preserve the new spirit of co-
operation between the White
House and Capitol Hill on
Middle East arms sales.
And by the way, the
leakers suggested, Congress
might reciprocate by looking
favorably on the $7 billion in
debt forgiveness for Egypt.
"This was a top priority for

the administration all
along," said an aide to one
Jewish legislator. "They
tossed out the $20 billion
figure, then almost instantly
offered to back down in the
spirit of cooperation, when
they had their sights set on
the $7 billion all along."
There is good reason for
political gamesmanship on
the debt forgiveness issue.
Despite President Bush's
deep commitment to forgiv-
ing Egypt's debt, Congress is
reluctant to set a precedent
that could generate long
lines of nations begging for
debt relief and open another
major wound in the already-
battered U.S. budget.
But that's not the only
theory about the quick tur-
nabout in administration

Congress suddenly
shed its virtual
unanimity in
support of the
administration's
Saudi buildup.

plans for the Saudi arms sale
—although early this week,
there were indications that
the White House might not
be turning quite as far as
earlier reports had sug-
gested.
Some observers suggested
that it was simply the old
"bid high, but settle for less"
gambit.
In other words, the ad-
ministration may have
deliberately leaked word of a
$20 billion sale, knowing
that it would produce a wave
of shock in Congress. And
this would make a $10
billion sale, the administra-
tion's apparent fall- back
position, seem moderate in
comparison.
In part, the swift tur-
naround may have also been
aided by a bit of bad timing
for the administration.
Just as the stories about
the proposed sale reached
their peak, Congress
suddenly shed its virtual
unanimity in support of the
administration's Saudi
buildup.
At hearings of a House
Foreign Affairs subcom-
mittee on Tuesday, John
Kelly, the Assistant Secre-
tary of State for Near East-
ern and South Asian Affairs,
was taken to task for the
administration's soft-line

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