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Blood money: US arms manufacturers are feeding fodder to the unrest in Middle East

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By NewGram Staff Writer

Even as the Middle East rapidly becomes engulfed in a string of proxy wars, sectarian violence, while transforming into a breeding ground for barbaric terrorist groups such as ISIS, the geopolitical phenomenon has brought much euphoria on the faces of American defense manufacturers.

To put the arms race into perspective, here are a few cases in point:

While Saudi Arabia uses F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing to wage war in Yemen, pilots from the United Arab Emirates fly Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. General Atomics and the Emirates are on the brink of signing a deal for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in the neighborhood.

Thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons, are refueling Arab arsenal that has been depleted over the past year.

US Defense Industry officials are awaiting requests from Arab allies fighting the Islamic State — Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt–for weapons, within a few days.

Countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and are hungry for more. Consequently, American defense contractors are witnessing an upsurge in the dealings of the foreign business department.

Why the boom in sale of armory?

The shift in momentum has erupted ever since the Alliance map was redrawn. In light of the historic de facto alliance between Israel and the Arab nations to stall Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration has been more forthcoming in allowing the sale of advanced weapons in the Persian Gulf.

This is in stark contrast to earlier plans of the United States to put restrictions on the types of weapons that American defense firms could sell to Arab nations, so that Israel maintained a military advantage against its traditional adversaries in the region.

Previously, virtually all sales to the Middle East were based on how they affected Israeli military superiority. There has been a shift in ideology with the Obama administration now showering greater support for the militaries of select Arab nations, particularly those that view Iran as a threat in the region. The change in geopolitical stance is expected to shake things up.

According to Industry Analysts and Middle East experts, the high-tech hardware from the defense industry is likely to see an upswing due to the fortitude and the determination of the wealthy Sunni nations to battle Shiite Iran for regional supremacy.

Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, “When you look at it, Israel’s strategic calculation is a simple one. The gulf countries do not represent a meaningful threat to Israel. They do represent a meaningful counterbalance to Iran.”

Who drives the weaponry demand?

The military coffers of Middle East nations is bulging with money, and with a desire to exert their influence over their nations, they have embarked on a shopping spree. The heavy weight shoppers have been highlighted below:

Qatar

The monarch State of Qatar, another gulf nation, signed an $11 billion deal with the Pentagon to purchase Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin air-defense systems.

While the country maintains a modest military force of approximately 12000 men, The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, found that in 2010–14 Qatar was the 46th largest arms importer in the world.

Now the tiny nation is betting money on making a large purchase of Boeing F-15 fighters to replace its aging fleet of French Mirage jets.

Saudi Arabia

The largest Arab state in Western Asia is also amongst the world’s largest military spenders. In fact, Saudi Arabia has the highest percentage of military expenditure in the world, spending more than 10 per cent of its GDP in its military.

Last year, it spent more than $80 billion on weaponry— the most ever, more than either France or Britain, thereby becoming  the world’s fourth-largest defense market, according the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

UAE

The federation of seven emirates, UAE, has grown its arsenal of weapons significantly over the years. It has purchased modern weapon systems from a wide variety of outside countries, mainly the US, France and Britain.

The Emirates spent nearly $23 billion last year, more than three times what they spent in 2006.

The recent developments in the armory market

Supply follows demand. As money attracts followers, so does the  American weapon manufacturers run after lucre.

Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year.

Lockheed created a separate division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and

the company’s chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales’ becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue — in part to offset the shrinking of the Pentagon budget after the post-Sept 11 boom.

What does the future hold?

According to American intelligence agencies, the proxy wars in the Middle East could last for years, which will make countries in the region even more eager for the F-35 fighter jet, considered to be the jewel of America’s future arsenal of weapons.

The F-35, manufactured by defense giant Lockheed Martin in 2006, is currently in its testing and production stage. From its futuristic shape to the millions of lines of computer code that act as a kind of artificial intelligence, the plane is a complicated beast.

The plan to sell F-35’s to Arab allies is on holds so as the preserve Israel’s military advantage.

This could change dramatically, if Russian President Vladimir V. Putin decides to sell an advanced air defense system to Iran. The demand for F-35 would magnify immensely due to its ability to penetrate Russian-made defenses.

“This could be the precipitating event: the emerging Sunni-Shia civil war coupled with the sale of advanced Russian air defense systems to Iran. If anything is going to result in F-35 clearance to the gulf states, this is the combination of events”, Mr. Aboulafia, a defense analyst at the Teal group said.

While most Americans feel justified with the ‘military support’–as a strategy to maintain peace and stability in the region, experts feel skeptical about the move to augment arms sales in the Middle East. Some even view it as a leading cause for the escalation in the type, number and sophistication in the weaponry in these countries.

They also point towards the misdirections of the arms against civilian populations, specifically in  the war raged by Saudi Arabia against Yemen, something that Saudi Arabia denies.

Opinion remains divided over the ethical considerations of arms supply. It is quite evident, though, that no war exists without the US.

Next Story

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Defense Attorney in New York City

If you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you

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Hiring, Defense Attorney, New York
If you have a good income and you’re capable of hiring your own attorney, then you’re bound to be fine. Pixabay

It’s important for you to know that your income plays a major role when you seek legal representation. If you have a good income and you’re capable of hiring your own attorney, then you’re bound to be fine. However, if you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you. The constitution guarantees you the right to be represented by a defense lawyer.

Before you hire a lawyer to represent you in the case, you need to discuss with that attorney about their billing structure, as the cost is one of the major factors to consider. When you explain your case to the lawyer, he/she can be able to determine the amount of money that the case will cost you. The following are other factors you need to consider when hiring a New York City criminal lawyer.

 

  • The skill of the lawyer

 

If the attorney you’re about to hire has much experience in cases such as yours, the attorney will charge you more for the legal services. In most cases, you’re advised to look for the most qualified attorney to present you in a case because you will have higher chances of winning the case.

Hiring, Defense Attorney, New York
It’s important for you to know that your income plays a major role when you seek legal representation. Pixabay

 

  • The seriousness of the case

 

If you have committed a serious offense, you need to hire a competent attorney to represent you. Serious cases such as rape, murder, and drug trafficking are taken very seriously in court, and if you’re found guilty, the penalties are very harsh. You can get a life sentence or face the hangman’s noose very easily. A New York City criminal lawyer who is capable of making you run away with murder will demand a higher cost than compared to petty crime such as trespass.

 

  • The complexity of legal issues in the case

 

When you have a case with complex issues that may require expert witnesses or private investigators, it will attract a higher cost to build a strong defense. For example, you want to raise the defense of legal sanity; you can hire a psychologist to prove that fact. Such experts require an average retainer of up to $300/hr, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Also Read- Google Remove Stalker Apps That were Available on its Play Store

 

  • Whether the attorney charges by the hour or a flat fee

 

Attorney charges are different. There is a defense lawyer who normally charges a flat rate, and you may find another who prefers to charge by the hour. You should consider your case, and if you find that your case will go to trial or take a long period of time before it’s determined, you should seek the services of an attorney who charge a flat rate. However, if you find that your case will not take a long time before it’s determined, you should go for the attorney who charges by the hour.

Conclusion 

You should always hire the most qualified defense attorney to take you through the court proceeding. The attorney has the experience and influence in a court of law because he/she understands the technicalities of the case before the court.