US, merchant of death in Middle East
Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:19AM
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has said that American defense and aerospace firms grabbed 54 percent of all arms sales in the Middle East region between 2005 and last year.
The US has also become the main supplier of advanced military weapons to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- snatching that market away from France, which accounted for 21 percent, SIPRI reported on Monday.
“The volume of arms imported by the UAE has increased significantly in the past decade and the country is likely to remain a major arms importer in the coming years,” researchers Carina Solmirano and Pieter Wezeman said in their paper titled Military spending and arms procurement in the (Persian) Gulf states.
The report singles out Qatar as the biggest market for American arms dealers in the region. The country purchased 98 percent of all its new weapons from the US during the four-year period.
In the UAE, which was the largest market for conventional arms over the time period, US companies won 60 per cent of contracts by value.
Washington also approved a $ 60 billion arms sale to Riyadh. The deal represents the largest-ever arms contract between the two nations. Saudi Arabia spent some $37 billion on arms between 2001 and 2008.
Washington plans to deliver as much as $122 billion worth of military hardware to its Arab allies over the next decade.
Saudi Arabia's package, which is to be delivered over 15 to 20 years, includes 84 F-15 jets, 70 Apache gunships, 72 Blackhawk helicopters, 36 light helicopters and thousands of laser-guided smart bombs.
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