Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only shake you down once a year, but when we do we really mean it. It costs a lot to keep the site afloat, and our growing audience, well over TWO million unique viewers a month, eats up a lot of bandwidth — and bandwidth isn’t free. We aren’t supported by corporate donors, advertisers or big foundations. We survive solely on your support.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Arms Merchants

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Arms sales are not as straightforward as one might think. For one thing, Russia and the United States are both eager to maintain their respective positions as the most successful merchants of death dealing devices. That causes them to sacrifice principle to expediency.  And there’s a good reason why they are eager to sell lots of arms. It boosts their respective economies. And times were bad in 2010 and needed a boost in 2011.

In 2010 worldwide arms sales dropped by 38 percent from their 2009 levels to the lowest levels since 2003.  In 2009 $65.2 billion in worldwide arms sales agreements were signed compared with $40.4 billion in 2010.  Of those amounts the U.S. had $21.3 billion in arms sales whereas Russia had only $7.8 billion. Happily,  2011 turns out to have been a much better year.  Projections for Russian arms sales for 2011 were more than $9 billion and by year’s end it had contracts to sell approximately $3.8 billion in arms to Syria.

The United States is not happy that Russia is supplying arms to Syria, a country of whose leader, Bashar al-Assad, the United States and other Western leaders strongly disapprove.  Commenting on Russia’s selling arms to Syria,  Secretary of State Clinton said in August 2011:   “We want to see Russia cease selling arms to the Assad regime.” Russia is unaffected by her comments.  It knows that to remain competitive with the United States in the arms sale competition it needs to sell arms wherever there’s a market. Since the United States is more principled than Russia, it does not sell arms to Syria.  Instead it sells them to countries that it thinks are in tune with its goals on the international stage-like Iraq.

Iraq is the country the United States devastated in order to help it out.  Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is its Prime Minister and we are happy to sell him arms.  At the end of December 2011 it was disclosed that we were selling the Iraqi military about $11 billion worth of arms and training.  We sell to Iraq because it is our friend.  We refuse to sell to Mr. Assad because he is not our friend.  Mr. Maliki, has let it be known that  he supports President Assad even though Mr. Assad is busy slaughtering his citizens in order to keep them in line.   Mr. Maliki supports Mr. Assad because Iran, a country to which the United States has not sold arms since Mr. Reagan was president, encouraged Mr. Maliki to befriend Syria. So now the United States is arming Iraq which is allying itself with Iran and supports Syria whom the U.S. thinks Russia should not arm.

A few weeks ago it was disclosed that that United States had put on hold a planned sale of $53 million of arms to the Kingdom of Bahrain.  Bahrain has proved itself a good friend of the United States since it is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.  Bahrain’s ruthless ruler is King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. He brutally put down an Arab spring uprising that took place in Bahrain beginning on Valentine’s Day in 2011.   More than 40 of those participating in the uprising were killed by the King’s forces.  Thousands more were imprisoned and brutalized.   When news of the proposed arms sale reached members of the United States Congress, they demanded that the sale be put on hold pending a detailed report of what went on during the uprising to determine whether an arms sale to Bahrain was appropriate.  As a result, the arms sale has not yet taken place.

King Hamad was aided by Saudi Arabia in putting down the uprising.  According to a March 15, 2011 report in the Los Angeles Times, one month after the revolt began, “hundreds of troops from Saudi Arabia and police officers from the nearby United Arab Emirates. . . entered Bahrain at the request of the ruling family. . . .”  to help put down the uprising.

On Christmas Eve it was announced that the administration would sell $30 billion in fighter jets and other arms  to Saudi Arabia.  This was part of a $60 billion arms sale that was approved by Congress in October 2010. Although the sale to Bahrain was put on hold,  there was no need to put the sale to Saudi Arabia on hold since it is a REALLY good friend to the U.S. even though it helped King Hamad put down the uprising in his country.

There are some countries to which the United States will not sell arms-like Syria or Bahrain. It does not hesitate, however, to sell arms to their supporters-like Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  Go figure.

 

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyons
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]