April 16, 2015
It took President Obama just five years to outpace former President George W. Bush when it comes to foreign military sales (FMS). The military industrial complex is coming up “triple 7s” in the FMS jackpot with the majority of the wartime arsenal finding a home in the war torn Middle East.
According William Hartung, the director of Arms and Security Project for the International Policy, and the FMS website, “In President Obama’s first five years in office, new agreements under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program—the largest channel for U.S. arms exports—totaled over $169 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion.”
He further noted that the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, President Obama, has overseen the transfer of more military weapons than any other president since World War II.
After more than 14 years of continuous war in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention supporting insurgencies in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, the U.S. departs in a zero sum game that has cost tens of thousands of lives (both military and civilian), trillions of taxpayer dollars and leaves the Middle-East completely destabilized.
The U.S. and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided a few coalition partners, most of whom are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department.
For the last three years, the U.S. has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The U.S. has delivered both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the U.S. supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats presumptively for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles.
The four-year Syrian civil war has also witnessed the rise of many jihadist and terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda spin-off, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which now attracts “fighters” from all over the Islamic world. The mirage-like arrival of ISIS on the scene looks to tighten the noose around non-believing governments (Iraq, ISIS and Obama’s trained insurgents: Link to PART ONE & PART TWO).
Just a few months ago the Assad regime was defeating the insurgency in Syria, but the equation changed when ISIS charged into Iraq where it unleashed its wrath and captured U.S. weapons from the U.S. trained Iraqi soldiers that sought flight rather than fight. Buoyed by the US government released of the “Taliban Five” from GITMO prison for alleged-US Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl ISIS has parlayed its unprecedented carnage (something al-Qaeda has denounced) into the seizure of Iraqi and Syrian oil fields, banks, and water supplies, $500,000,000 in weapons US Special Operators left in Yemen which they collectively fund their self-proclaimed “Caliphate.”
Enter Iran and Russia
The Iranians have been celebrating in the streets after the latest nuclear talks produced the possibility of lifting depressive sanctions. Countries like China and India lined up for the opportunity to work with the Islamic Republic of Iran to build oil and gas pipelines.
That nuke agreement freed the long delayed transfer of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles sales to Iran by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian Defense Ministry suggested the sale would happen quickly, signaling their support for Tehran’s nuclear program. Plus, Putin couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stick it to President Obama, whose foreign policy continues to demonstrate worldwide weakness.
The defensive missile sales to Iran also took the administration by surprise and allows the Iranians additional security around its nuclear facilities therefore making an air attack much more difficult. The added protection gives Iran increasingly more bravado in a region already emeshed in a Sunni verses Shia sectarian war.
Jumping into the fray was State Department spokesperson Marie Harf who said Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, debated the missile sale over the phone. “We don’t believe it’s constructive at this time for Russia to move forward with this,” Harf reported. However, she suggested the Russian military sale will have no bearing on the current P5 + 1 nuke talks.
With falling oil prices, weapons galore, and deep-seated sectarian hatred, the US “arms-for-peace” program puts the Mid-East just one missile away from lift-off.
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