smith Midterm1 - Smith The Power Game In the early 1960s...

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Smith: The Power Game In the early 1960s, one of the most powerful influences on Congress was the pro-Israeli lobby. The years when Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser kept threatening Israel, and the Arab cause was unpopular on Capitiol Hill. But in late 1970s, the political situation changed, first the dramatic journey to Jersusalem Nov 1977 and the 1978 Camp David accords that led to a peace treaty between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Secondly the political situation changed w/ the skyrocketing prices of oil and the Western impulse to secure a flow of oil from Persian Gulf thru better relations with Saudi Arabia + other Arab states. Thirdly, they changed with the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 The steady production of oil for the West by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia persuaded President Carter in 1978 to promise Saudis F-5 jet fighters as a sign of gratitude and friendship. Israel was in fear that they’d be used against them. In 1981 the new Reagan administration decided to sell the Saudis several enormously expensive + valuable airborne radar command posts (AWACS = Air Warning and Control System). (For years the U.S. Air Force had been encouraging the Saudis to buy AWACS partly to provide rationale for American-built air bases in Saudi Arabia that American places could use in a ME crisis. General David Jones chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff immediately messaged WA and pushed the Pentagon and Carter to send AWACS. Very soon after the AWACS deal, the Saudi govt asked if Carter would conclude an 8.4 billion arms sale with tankers, jet-fighters, etc. That request was a political dynamite: Israel feared modern Saudi Air Force
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smith Midterm1 - Smith The Power Game In the early 1960s...

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