Statement on Persian Gulf Crisis and Related Issues

by Jared Feldman

The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council strongly commends the Administration for its extraordinary achievement in mobilizing a coordinated and sustained international response, including the unified action of the United Nations, to Iraq’s recent unprovoked aggression against Kuwait. We endorse the objectives of U.S. policy to obtain withdrawal of Iraqis forces from Kuwait, to protect foreign nationals, especially American citizens, being held against their will by Iraqi authorities, to maintain the free flow of oil in the Middle East and to deter Saddam Hussein from aggression against Saudi Arabia and any other state in the region.

 

We share the concerns expressed by Administration officials and many members of Congress, including during secretary of State James Baker’s recent testimony before key Congressional committees, in regard to the threat posed by Iraq’s military capabilities, particularly its chemical weapons and its developing nuclear and biological potential. We support the Administration in its efforts to circumscribe Iraq’s ability to utilize these weapons of mass destruction.

 

While we understand the Administration’s motivation behind the recent decision to invoke emergency authority in order to sell Saudi Arabia over $2 billion of sophisticated military equipment, we nevertheless are concerned about the impact this and other possible future arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states will have on the balance of power in the region. We urge the Administration to develop controls and commitments associated with these arms transfers that will minimize the threats they may pose to important U.S. interests, such as the security of Israel and the stability of the region as a whole. We welcome the Administration’s continuing commitment to preserve Israel’s qualitative military advantage, a policy embraced by a succession of Administrations, and urge that the necessary steps be taken expeditiously to implement that commitment.

We note the Administration’s intention to seek debt relief for Egypt which owes the U.S. approximately $7 billion. We call upon the Administration and the Congress to provide debt relief for Israel as well and to find other ways of assisting Israel in meeting the many defense-related and economic challenges it faces. By supporting its Camp David partners in this manner, the U.S. would be sending a powerful message of peace to the entire region and signaling a continued commitment to the financial well-being and security of these two important allies

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About the Author


Jared Feldman