The Specs of US Weapons Welfare

I’ve written extensively about US aid to tyrannies in the Middle East as a method to keep governments in place that will obey US demands and that will prevent the populations from interfering with policymaking. And a government ain’t a government without that essential ingredient: weapons.

This CRS report details how the US ranks first in the world in weapons welfare to dependent dictatorships. It’s an interesting read. It also explains how the world’s top weapons suppliers are responding to the economic downturn by expanding their base of buyers to additional developing nations they otherwise ignored in order to keep the military industrial complex fat and satisfied in the face of international pressure to cut budgets. But I found this list an interesting illustration of the specifics of US weapons welfare; we often hear about it, but without much detail.

Among the larger valued arms transfer agreements the United States concluded in 2010 with developing nations were: with Israel for 19 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for $2.75 billion; with Taiwan for 60 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters for $2.4 billion; with Saudi Arabia for M1A2 and M1AS tank support and spare parts for $384 million; with Saudi Arabia for maintenance, support, and spare parts for F-15 fighter aircraft for $250 million; with Egypt for one Fast Patrol Craft for $227 million, and for Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles for $104 million; with Pakistan for mid-life upgrades and support for F-16 fighter aircraft for $220 million; with India for CBU-105 sensor fused bombs, and associated items, for $384 million; with Jordan for a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket system for $182 million, and for Javelin anti-tank missiles for $124 million. Other 2010 U.S. contracts include several score of missile, ordnance, and weapons systems support cases worth tens of millions of dollars each with U.S. customers in every region of the developing world.

And the most popular quantities and types of arms the US sold to Near East nations:

  • 339 tanks and self-propelled guns
  • 71 APCs and armored cars
  • 3 minor surface combatants
  • 38 supersonic combat aircraft
  • 35 helicopters
  • 397 surface-to-air missiles

We’ve had the recent benefit of other detailed explanations of US weapons welfare to Mid-East dictatorships, showing blatantly the effects of these arms transfers. As Yemeni protesters were facing repression from the Saleh government, a cable from 2005 with a detailed list of the weaponry the US government gave to Yemen surfaced. Included were shotguns, machine guns, ammunition, grenade launchers, body armor, communications equipment, warships, transport trucks, etc. And direct military-to-miltary training as well. Then, as Bahraini protesters were likewise suffering under a brutal dictatorship intent on suppressing any democratic progress, the Obama administration finalized their latest arms transfer to that dictatorship. Similar murder machinery were included, like bunker buster missiles, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and more.

So, there are some details of overweening US policy in the Middle East. In the context of the Arab Spring, of course, the US will do anything it can to prevent authentic freedom and progress in the region. This, in part, is how.

  • El Tonno

    "with Israel for 19 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for $2.75 billion"

    Consider this a donation.

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  • Ben C

    I'm just wondering if the ignorant "America Hating" mindless 'flag wavers' will ever acknowledge and/or take ‘responsibility’/’accountability’ for the fact they are the ones who are (at the very least: partially) responsible for/complicit in supplying weapons to the "evil ones"–the same "evil ones" their government Masters may suddenly announce we have to oust, via military for whatever reason (reasons provided as simple as torturing individuals on behalf of the United States)? I seriously doubt it… I fully admit that I'd most likely be considered a cynical person… Be that as it may: these idiots (in an aggregate sense), in my perspective, live in a world of fantasy where it's simply not possible they can make mistakes, much less be 'wrong'–about anything, at all–much less admit their mistakes, learn (anything at all) from them, and correct them… I'm hoping I'm wrong and just a crazy, cynical, idiot…

    • persnipoles

      Nope. You didn't miss a beat. Stop apologizing -er- hedging. < live in a world of fantasy where it's simply not possible they can make mistakes, much less be 'wrong'> Well, foreign policy, in particular is that area where they can't conceive of consequences to themselves and have mostly given 'experts' free reign –their only real function in it is to provide social pressure that shuts you up. That 'hedging' in your comment ('I fully admit…') might be an indication that it works?

      • Ben C

        Nah…The slobs could/will never "shut me up". Not even in the slightest. My main point with respect to the comment you mentioned is that: if my predictions and observations are 100% accurate, we're pretty much doomed. Even so: cynical I may be; defeatist I am not. It's always worth the effort–anything can theoretically happen. Maybe we'll get lucky…who knows? Besides, it’s always fun to make the slobs look stupid and remind them of their shame and humiliation when their policies fail over and over again for more or less the same reason(s). I guess one question is how to most effectively go about doing so? Recently I’ve been a fan of sarcastically praising them for their “wisdom” and critical thinking skills. At least everyone gets a chuckle out of it that way.

        • persnipoles

          Good boy! It's hard to read into someone's introspection in type… I've taken to name calling and abuse…. Hmmm.

          • Ben C

            I'm not above the fray… Actually, that's where (some–not all) things seem to get done. I think the only hope likeminded people have to prevail in this situation is to figure out the 'game' and beat the 'other side' (the "other side" meaning those who actually are informed and philosophically disagree with the side advocated on this website) at it. Obviously the other side has figured out the 'game'. Are their ideas "mainstream" or "popular"? I don't really think so. I also see no reason why likeminded people can't beat them at it–I really don't think they are fundamentally "smarter"…they have just figured it out. I think the fundamental problem is that likeminded people are attacking windmills, rather than playing the game the other side has figured out… That's just me though… I think the key, and only hope, maybe to understanding the "game"….

          • MvGuy

            *************************** The (most recent) Game ****************************

            First get your man elected by any means…… Second there is an attack on the mother/father/home-land.. third, put legislation in place stripping all rights to question your authority.. fourth start a war , use it as an excuse to strip any remaining rights… "Can't be TOO careful" … Set up an intelligence program to know everything possible about any and all citizens…and non-citizens too… Control every aspect of political life…. Criminalize EVERYTHING,, have the people AFRAID of Govt. authority… afraid to ask questions, afraid to stand up for anything of concern for ordinary citizens.. It's the Third Reich Playbook.. Now try spelling NATO with a swastika as the first letter…..!!

          • Ben C

            That seems like an old playbook. I though Mr. Bush ran on a "humble foreign policy" and he didn't believe in "Nation Building". With respect to Mr. Obama, I guess I missed the memo where he claimed it was okay to kill US Citizens without providing them due process of the law…killing them without changing them with a crime even. Not only that: the non-charges for the supposed crimes these Citizens are accused of committing would not carry the death penalty to being with if they were found guilty in a court of law… I also didn't get the memo where Mr. Obama said it was okay to bomb a sovereign nation and take sides in a Civil War to oust a regime–which poses no threat to the US. You see, he didn't even feel like getting Congressional approval, because allegedly he didn't think he would have the votes…so it was obviously more efficient to just bypass them…
            Obviously there is more going on here than the old playbook you described… A lot of aspects of the playbook you mention are not even necessary if voting no longer matters—if it ever even did to begin with…

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