Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bombs for Billions - Arab Governments' Weapon Spending

Arms expo visitors at IDEX in Abu Dhabi

The world spends $1,000 Billion (or $1 Trillion) annually on the military. Of all the things governments spend their money on, weapons account for most of the spending by far.

After seeing images (like the one below) from the Middle East, of peaceful protesters being attacked by their governments with U.S. weapons, I decided to do a little research on Arab governments and their arms purchases.

This is some of what I found:

During Feb 20-24, 2011, amidst the bloodbath of the Arab revolutions, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) held its 10th International Defense Exhibition, where it sold weapons much like the ones being used by Arab tyrants against their people. It produced $5 Billion dollars in contracts from neighboring nations. These weapons will most likely end up being used on innocent civilians again. If you want to help prevent that from happening, sign this petition by Amnesty International to tell the US to stop weapons transfers to Bahrain, where civilians are being killed by such weapons.
Interested buyer at IDEX

According to the US Government Accountability Office, the United States sold $37 Billion in arms to Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and U.A.E.) from 2005 to 2009. On top of their previous spending, Gulf states have ordered $123 Billion (!!!) worth of U.S. weapons to be purchased over the next few years.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Middle East accounts for 17% of the world's arms imports.

In 2009, the top six countries purchasing arms from the U.S. were:

  1. U.A.E. - $7.9 Billion
  2. Afghanistan - $5.4 Billion
  3. Saudi Arabia - $3.3 Billion
  4. Taiwan - $3.2 Billion
  5. Egypt - $2.1 Billion
  6. Iraq - $1.6 Billion
Interesting how Afghanistan and Iraq made the list, I'm guessing the aid they receive from the U.S. is given on the condition that it is then spent on U.S. arms (see how things come full circle ;) ).

In 2010, the United States sealed its largest-ever overseas arms deal when Saudi Arabia purchased $60 Billion worth of arms. Saudi Arabia was also the top buyer of U.S. arms from 2005 to 2008, with its purchases totaling $11.2 Billion.

“We cannot be both the world's leading champion of peace and the world's leading supplier of the weapons of war” - Jimmy Carter

“You know we armed Iraq. I wondered about that too, you know during the Persian Gulf war those intelligence reports would come out: "Iraq: incredible weapons - incredible weapons." How do you know that? "Uh, well...we looked at the receipts."” - Bill Hicks

“Do not put your trust in rivers, men who carry weapons, beasts with claws or horns, women, and members of a royal family.” - Chanakya

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