Senate Skeptical About Gulf-War Pledges

THE United States Senate, concerned that some nations will forget their pledges of financial aid for Operation Desert Storm, appears ready to ban the sale of sophisticated US arms to those countries until they make good on their commitments. Congress has been skeptical from the start that all members of the coalition would fulfill their pledges and, indeed, the amount of money committed has so far outstripped what has reached Washington.

In proposing the ban on weapons sales, the Senate Appropriations Committee pointedly noted that if all the commitments by these countries had been received, Congress would not be in the position of having to approve $15 billion for the costs of the war.

As of March 15, the committee report said that $53.5 billion had been pledged by foreign governments but only $17.9 billion has made its way into the US Treasury Department.

The report said that the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and many other countries won on the battlefield, with US "manpower, logistics and raw military clearly the determining factor." But the committee noted that other nations, specifically the oil-producing states of the Gulf and nations heavily dependent on oil but politically unable to send military forces, promised money and other aid.

"The resources that have been promised appear adequate to defray the so-called incremental costs of the war," the report said.

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