Tags: Iran | ISIS/Islamic State | us armaments | weaponry | arabs | conflicts

Mideast Conflicts Fuel Demand for Advanced US Weaponry

By    |   Monday, 20 April 2015 07:30 AM

The U.S. has sold billions of dollars worth of weapons over the years to oil-rich Arab states. Now, some of those aircraft and munitions are actually being used in combat against Iranian-back Shiite Houthi militias in Yemen, the Islamic State group in Syria, and ISIS-affiliates in Libya, The New York Times reported.

The fighting is fueling a buying spree by Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, which is equipped with F-15 warplanes from Boeing, and the United Arab Emirates, which operates F-16s from Lockheed Martin.

Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt are now all shopping for millions of dollars worth of American arms to counter the Iranian threat. The Emirates also wants to become the first country outside NATO to buy Predator drones from General Atomics.

These acquisitions have the potential of fueling a new arms race, the Times reported.

Riyadh spent some $80 billion on armaments in 2014. The Emirates bought almost $23 billion of weapons last year. Qatar is purchasing $11 billion worth of Apache helicopters and air-defense systems, including the Patriot. The Qataris are in the market for new warplanes, the Times reported.

With the Pentagon cutting its budget, and U.S. arms manufacturers pressing to sell more weapons in the Middle East, even the stealth F-35 fighter jet could soon be offered to Arab countries, the Times reported.

Congress has directed the administration, under a doctrine known as Qualitative Military Edge for Israel, not to sell weapons to Middle East countries that would undermine Israel's ability to defend itself. The Obama administration has argued that by arming the Sunni Arab world against Iran it is facilitating Israel's security, the Times reported. Key members of Congress appear to agree — and Israel itself has not made an issue over U.S. arms sales to the Arabs, Al Monitor reported.

Meanwhile, Russia sells advanced weapons systems to Iran, according to the Times.

China's weapons sales are mostly to the Asian market and to Pakistan, which is Sunni Muslim but not Arab, the Financial Times reported.

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Arab states like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt are now all shopping for millions of dollars worth of sophisticated American arms for use in conflicts now raging across the Middle East.
us armaments, weaponry, arabs, conflicts
Monday, 20 April 2015 07:30 AM
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