Monday, 30 July 2007

The Arms Bazaar

"The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to eventually total $20 billion at a time when some United States officials contend that the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq."

But just in case you were getting worried, the US also announced that it would be giving $30 billion in military aid to Israel over the next ten years. And the worth of arms sent to Egypt is also being upped to $13 billion.

Many might question the wisdom of continually pumping billions of dollars worth of weapons into a region as volatile as the Middle East, particularly when arming all sides in any potential conflict. But there is a historical reason for this. Since the mid 70s, the Middle East has acted as a massive subsidy for the American arms industry (and to a lesser extent the British arms industry). The United States invests hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons development and some of this cost is offset by the guarantees it receives from middle eastern countries like Saudi Arabia to purchase weapons - a subsidy by any other name. This deal has been more or less continual since the assassination of King Faysal in 1975 which brought the notoriously pro-American King Khalid to power. Some speculate that King Faysal's removal was blessed by the American government irked by the Saudi oil embargo for the U.S. during the 1973 Israel-Arab war.

In part this also helps to pay off the costs of military aid to countries like Israel and Egypt. A sweet deal all around.


1 comment:

Nauman said...

I also read this news but I am a little confused about it. USA will sell arms worth 20 billion USD to Arab countries and it will give a grant of a total of 43 billion USD to Israel and Egypt so how is it going to benefit USA? I mean the total amount of grant is greater than the total worth of weapons?