Albany, N.Y. (May. 11)
A resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to disapprove the Reagan Administration’s proposed sale of advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia was adopted by acclamation by the New York State Assembly here late week. Its sponsor, Assemblyman Jerrold Nadler (D-L) of Manhattan said afterwards, “Since this Administration claims that it wants feedback from the ‘grass roots’ of America, this will tell them that the nation’s second most populous state…stands united against this sale.”
The resolution cited, among numerous reasons for opposing the proposed weapons package, the fact that both the Congress and the Israeli government were given commitments, at the time F-15 fighter planes were sold to Saudi Arabia in 1978, that there would be no enhancement of the offensive capabilities of those aircraft.
“The sale of the AWACS (Advanced Warning and Command Systems) and the auxiliary F-15 equipment will constitute a severe danger to the security of Israel, our staunchest ally in the Middle East,” the resolution said, and “completion of the sales will greatly exacerbate the Middle East arms race.”
GRAVE DANGER CITED
The resolution also expressed concern that there was “a grave danger of this equipment falling into the hands of unfriendly powers.” Nadler explained that “the Saudi government is an unstable one that is threatened by radical leftists allied with the Soviet Union and Libya on one side and fanatical Muslims who sympathize with the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, on the other. In the event of a successful revolt, our country could not afford to lose any more top secret weapons such as AWACS. We couldn’t take another intelligence debacle such as happened in Iran without seriously damaging our own national security.”
Nadler suggested two other possibilities that could transpire if the AWACS are provided to Saudi Arabia. He said that in the event of another Arab-Israeli war, Saudi AWACS with American personnel aboard could be shot down by Israelis using American F-15s, an “ironic spectacle.” If the Saudis should use the weapons against Israel in another war, “then the oil fields these weapons are meant to protect would be a legitimate target for Israel. In the guise of protecting these oil fields, these weapons would be the means of their destruction,” Nadler said.