Sunday, 3 April 2016
As Saudi and Allies Bombard Yemen US Clocks up $33 Billion Arms Sales in Eleven Months
Sometimes even to the most towering cynic, American hypocrisy is more than breathtaking.
As they lambast their latest “despot”, Syria’s President al-Assad — a man so popular in his country and the region that the US Embassy in Damascu had, by the end of 2006, devised a plan to oust him — arms sales to countries where human rights are not even a glimmer on the horizon have for the US (and UK) become an eye watering bonanza.
The latest jaw dropper, as Saudi Arabia continues to bombard Yemen with US and UK armaments dropped by US and UK-made aircraft, is sales worth $33 Billion in just eleven months to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) according to Defense News.
The GCC, a political and economic alliance of six Middle East countries, comprises of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. It was established in the Saudi Capital, Riyadh, in May 1981.
Weapons sold to the alliance since May 2015 have included: “… ballistic missile defense capabilities, attack helicopters, advanced frigates and anti-armor missiles, according to David McKeeby, a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.”
“In addition, the U.S. government and industry also delivered 4,500 precision-guided munitions to the GCC countries in 2015, including 1,500 taken directly from U.S. military stocks – a significant action given our military’s own needs,” he added, stressing: “that the US government would like to continue to strengthen partnerships with Kuwait and Qatar through defense sales and other security cooperation activities.”
A metaphor for our times that “partnerships” are “strengthened” with lethal weapons, not in trade of goods, foods, medical, educational or intellectual exchanges.
A fly or two in the oil of the wheels of the US arms trade is the two year delay in approval of sales 40 F/A-18 Super Hornets to Kuwait and Qatar and also 72 F-15 Silent Eagles to Qatar.
Suspicion has been voiced that this has something to do with a pending US-Israel military financing deal, a suggestion emphatically denied by Washington.
In the meantime as Yemen continues to be blitzed, with the UN stating that eighty percent of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance, 2-4 million are displaced and approaching four thousand dead.
It seems Saudi and its allies have more than enough ordinance to continue the slaughter and more than enough US and UK military advisors to help them in the decimation.
Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.)