U.S. officials have announced billions of dollars in military assistance for Middle East allies to counter what the State Department calls "Iranian expansionism."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday announced a 25-percent boost in aid to Israel with a 10-year, 30-billion-dollar package. She proposed maintaining the current level of military assistance for Egypt with a 10-year, 13-billion-dollar deal.
Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates left Monday on a trip to the Middle East to seek support for stabilizing Iraq.
U.S. officials say there are also plans for multi-billion dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states.
Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says the sale of U.S. weaponry would serve, in part, as a deterrence to what he called "Iranian expansionism and Iranian aggression in the future."
Iran has condemned the proposed U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. An Iranian spokesman accused Washington of spreading fear in the region.
Rice said the United States is seeking to support the forces of moderation to counter what she called the negative influences of Iran, Syria, al-Qaida, and Lebanon's Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah.
Rice and Gates plan to meet Tuesday with top officials in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and then travel to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Sunday that Saudi leaders are "not doing all they can" to support U.S. policy on Iraq.
Rice will also visit Jerusalem and Ramallah for separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials, while Gates holds talks in Gulf Arab countries.
American press reports say the United States is planning to sell advanced weapons worth 20-billion dollars to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states.