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Saudi Arabia lobbying to buy political influence in US: Pundit

Demonstrators protest weapon sales to Saudi Arabia outside the Hart Senate Office building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 7, 2016. ©AFP

Press TV has conducted an interview with James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst from Washington, and Peter Sinnott, an independent scholar in New York, to discuss Washington’s offer to sell arms worth USD 115 billion to Saudi Arabia.

Jatras says the arms sales figures show the level of corruption in the United States, adding that the Riyadh regime spends money on a lobbying campaign to “buy political influence” among American policy makers.

American officials continue to whitewash Riyadh’s human rights violations and its support for terrorism in the Middle East region, he added.

On Thursday, the US administration offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion in arms sales. The proposal, which includes training, weapons, tanks and other war equipment, is the highest during Washington’s decades-long alliance with the monarchy.

This is while the Saudi military has been in a deadly military campaign, which has so far claimed some 10,000 live in neighboring Yemen.

Jatras questioned any purchase of tanks by Saudi Arabia, which faces no threat of invasion, adding that it should be asked which country the Saudis want to roll the tanks into as Riyadh does not need more such equipment to defend the kingdom.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he pointed to the Saudi backing for terrorist groups in the Middle East, saying such support is not a mere reflection to the Russian-Iranian alliance, which is helping real anti-terror operations.

The Saudi kingdom has long been promoting the “very radical and violent” ideology of Wahhabism, which inspires Takfiri terror groups, adding that the regime needs to play a political game abroad to legitimize its repressive rule at home.

Also speaking on PressTV’s program ‘The Debate,’ Sinnott said the United States’ approval of selling more Abrams tanks to Saudi Arabia in 2016 “reflects a major shift in US strategy and it is related to a shift in global politics and alliances in the region.”

The arms purchase also is an indicator of geopolitical rivalry between the US and Saudi Arabia on one side and Russia, Iran and Turkey on the other side, the scholar noted.

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