Middle East: Let's Not Make a Deal

Let's Not Make a Deal Why the U.S. is losing out on weapons sales to the Arab world

The arms deal of the century, newspapers around the world are calling it. Over the next two decades, Saudi Arabia will buy as much as $25 billion worth of jet fighters, helicopters, minesweepers and military services from Britain in exchange for oil and hard cash. The agreement, signed earlier this month, means that Britain will supplant the U.S. as the Saudis' main arms supplier. The British thus benefited directly from the U.S. Congress's refusal to approve the transfer to the Saudis of 40 advanced F-15 fighters in 1985 and 800 Stinger missiles in 1986.

The accord delivers a blow to U.S....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!