Lawmakers line up against Saudi deal


More than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter warning President Bush that they would try to stop his proposed sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

“We intend to vote to stop it,” said the letter sent Thursday. “Saudi Arabia has not behaved like an ally of the United States. They have exported fighters and suicide bombers to the war in Iraq. They have provided funding for terrorist activities throughout the world. And the Saudis have refused to play a constructive role in the West Bank and Gaza. The United States should not send potentially destabilizing weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Most of the signatories are Democrats, although about 15 were Republican.

The Bush administration proposed the $20 billion arms sale this week as part of a package that also increases defense aid to Israel. The aim is to create a united front against Iran and draw the Saudis into the recently revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.) initiated the letter. Democratic leaders in Congress have expressed skepticism about the arms package but have not dismissed it.

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