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January 14, 2008
Bush Calls for Increased Effort against Iran
In the midst of his 6 country, eight day Middle East trip, President Bush urged Middle Eastern countries to reject the extremism represented by Iran and al-Qaeda and embrace democracy.
Speaking to a gathering in the United Arab Emirites, the President called on the region's nation's to unite against Iran:
Mr. Bush, speaking yesterday inside the $3 billion Emirates Palace Hotel to an audience of a few hundred, said regional hopes of peace and prosperity are threatened by "violent extremists who murder the innocent in pursuit of power." President Sarkozy is in the region trying to bolster French commercial ties with Arab countries. Not coincidentally, he is holding out the carrot of civilian nuclear technology in order to get cooperation on confronting Iran.
Iran, he said, is "the world's leading state sponsor of terror," and its actions, especially its defiance of United Nations resolutions against its nuclear-weapons program, "threaten the security of nations everywhere."
"So the United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf, and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late," Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Bush's coalition-building swing through six Middle East countries is being buttressed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's concurrent three-country trip to the region.
To put some steel into his words, the White House announced that the US government will offer Saudi Arabia a massive 3 year $30 billion military aid package that includes some of our most sophisticated weapons and munitions. This is the same package offered by the president last year that was withdrawn after strenuous protests from Israel. Since then, we have agreed to sell Israel even more advanced weaponry so it is assumed that the Saudi deal now has a green light.