The US weapons sector had a good day on Thursday, with Senator Rand Paul’s effort to block a $2 billion weapons sale to Egypt rejected in the upper chamber. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, vowed to grant Colombia a “non-NATO major ally designation” and made good on promises to hand Qatar the same status, setting the stage for future arms deals.
Plane Sale Takes Off
Senator Paul’s bid to scrap the multi-billion dollar sale to Egypt was roundly opposed by fellow lawmakers, with his resolution voted down 81-18 on Thursday. Announced in January, the arms deal in question involves 12 C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes and related gear, though a separate sale approved the same day will also see $355 million in radar systems transferred to Cairo.
Enjoying support from leaders in both parties, the aircraft sale is moving ahead despite a decision earlier this year by the Biden administration to withhold $130 million in aid due to Egypt’s poor human rights record under the Abdel Fattah al-Sisi regime. The latest arms deal was greenlit by the State Department just days prior.
Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, has defended the deal on the grounds that it will supply only non-lethal planes. However, while the Lockheed Martian-made Hercules craft are not equipped to drop bombs, they can be used to move Egyptian troops and lethal military gear that have been unleashed on civilian protesters in the past.
Donald Trump’s “favorite dictator,” al-Sisi has committed a long line of abuses since taking power in a military coup in 2014. He was also directly implicated in the 2013 Rabaa massacre, in which police and soldiers under al-Sisi’s command mowed down more than 1,000 protesters. He has since imprisoned his political opposition, including the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, who died of a purported heart attack while still in custody.
NATO’s New Friends
As Paul’s resolution was clobbered in the Senate on Thursday, President Biden was busy advancing Washington’s strategic partnerships with repressive foreign states, expanding the ever-growing list of “major non-NATO allies” – nations which do not formally belong to the bloc but often receive preferential treatment in the military and financial spheres.
Following a call with Colombian leader Ivan Duque, Biden declared that the South American country would soon receive the ‘major ally’ designation, citing Bogota’s increasingly close ties with the US over the decades.
“The United States intends to designate Colombia as a Major Non-NATO Ally in recognition of our uniquely close cooperation in the hemisphere, Colombia’s significant contributions as a NATO Global Partner [and] its commitment to NATO’s mission to promote democratic values,” Biden said in a joint statement with his Colombian counterpart.
The president also made sure to note Colombia’s “rejection of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine” while touting the country’s supposed devotion to the “defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The Biden-Duque call came as the administration engages in its most intense dialog with the Venezuelan government in years after Caracas released two American prisoners this week, clearing the way for future dialogue. Colombia, however, has played a key role in US efforts to destabilize Venezuela and even overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, with protest convoys and other opposition activities organized in the neighboring state, as well as at least one alleged assassination plot.
Much like Venezuela, Colombia has a dark human rights record, with extensive documented repression against indigenous people, including “killings, enforced disappearances and kidnappings,” according to Amnesty International. The government and security forces have also faced charges of assassinations of demilitarized members of the FARC rebel group, as well as killing scores of protesters last year.
On the other side of the planet, Qatar’s major ally status also formally took effect on Thursday, after Biden announced the move in late January. The designation will grant Doha more access to American weapons, despite the country’s highly questionable rights record, which even the US State Department has condemned. A 2019 human rights review, for example, concluded that Qatar was responsible for a range of abuses:
“Significant human rights issues included: criminalization of libel; restrictions on peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including prohibitions on political parties and labor unions; restrictions on the freedom of movement for migrant workers’ travel abroad; refusal to grant asylum despite risk of arrest and torture; limits on the ability of citizens to choose their government in free and fair elections; criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual activity; and reports of forced labor.
The arms deal and new alliances each come as the White House continues a campaign to make Russia an international pariah over its invasion of Ukraine, in which it has repeatedly denounced Moscow for aggression and even war crimes. While the Russian attack will likely result in thousands of civilian casualties and inflame a serious refugee crisis in Eastern Europe, Biden’s continued ties with other authoritarian states presents a major credibility problem for Washington, suggesting its oft-professed commitment to human rights is selective at best.
Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com and news editor of the Libertarian Institute. Will Porter is the assistant news editor of the Libertarian Institute and a staff writer at RT. Kyle and Will host Conflicts of Interest along with Connor Freeman. Reprinted from The Libertarian Institute.
12 thoughts on “While Condemning Putin, Biden Lavishes Dictators With US-Made Weapons”
This is why we’re at war in Ukraine now. Ukraine was a “major non-NATO ally” very close to getting a NATO Action Plan to join NATO. “That ain’t gonna happen” now.
THE UKRAINE IS A WASTE LAND.
THEIR WEAPONIZED PLUTONIUM IS IN A NATO COUNTRY NOW.
THAT IS WHY RUSSIA ASKED ALL OF THE OFFICIAL NUKES THERE BE REMOVED TWO MONTHS AGO.
WE LAUGHED THEM TO SCORN.
NATO IS NOT RELEVANT IN THIS WAR, it is enabling A Rogue state that has WMDS, now On NATO SOIL.
” We will defend every inch of NATO” ~V.P. Harris
I hope you are right.
Mar 11, 2022 Ukraine War: Putin expands his information crackdown
Vladimir Putin is continuing his clampdown in Russia on alternative sources of information about the invasion of Ukraine.
Trolling for IP’s?
Looking for identity of commentators?
Getting ready for the big WAR & coup to put trmpass back in power?
We can get your kind of ‘news’ on the walls toilet stalls son.
It is written in shyt.
What in the world do you think has happened here?? There are things that the media does not mention. Why?
As for your last question this will let you know more than most vlp1730. “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
January 26, 2022 What is NATO? Military alliance in spotlight as Russia tries to forbid Ukraine membership
NATO was established in 1949 as a defense against the Soviet Union. Its core principal is mutual defense, enshrined in Article 5 of its founding treaty. There are 30 NATO member. Russia is trying to keep Ukraine from joining them. The threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted NATO forces to mobilize across Europe, evoking for many the military alliance’s first reasons for being.
When Kyle and Will write about al-Sisi’s crimes, he’s “Donald Trump’s favorite dictator”. No mention of that the coup, the arrest of the elected president, and the massacre of 1,000 protesters and other crimes, were committed when Obamba was president. And Joe Biden vice president, Hillary state secretary.
Surely just a mere oversight!
While Hillary and Obama claimed to support the pro-democracy protests that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, they were quietly shipping riot gear and teargas to al-Sisi’s military to crush the rioters. When they didn’t, Obama and Hillary greenlit the crushing of the democratic president Mohamed Morsi later, in 2012. With the socialist parties and the military, which controls one third of the economy, organizing protests as a cover. The White House kept sending money to Egypt, more than to any other country in the world except Israel. The condition: Close the border to Gaza to starve the Palestinians. The democratic government had opened it. Financing a coup regime is illegal in U.S. law, so they simply pretended there had been no coup, same as with the Washington-financed coup in Ukraine in 2014.
After the coup, Biden was the point man coordinating everything. I believe that as a quid pro quo, Hunter got his job at Barisma (at $85,000 per month!). Ukraine also got weapons, which continued to be provided by the Trump administration (hence “the call” that money and weapons were on hold until and unless dirt could be found on Hunter).
“Much like Venezuela, Colombia has a dark human rights record,”
This comparison is a propaganda, nothing more. It marred an otherwise excellent analysis and is clearly based in political bias.
Venezuela’s human rights record is stellar compared to Columbia’s death squad regimes.
Colombia (according to the late Chalmers Johnson) was in the top 5 countries receiving weapons and money from the U.S. of A. It may well still be. And, we are leasing 7 military air bases there.
Of course. The business of America is business. Our most reliable manufacture is war materials. To other countries, “you want em, we got em”. No order too big, no fee too big.
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