Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Nations who Armed the Arab Dictatorships

By Ted Newcomen, Socialist Viewpoint, March/April  2011, vol. 11, No. 2

The U.S. “lamestream” media circus has been fulminating about Arab dictatorships killing innocent demonstrators in recent uprisings across the Middle East but has been conspicuously silent about the origins of the weapons used. Although some governments, such as the UK, have recently had second thoughts and are revoking arms licenses to Libya and Bahrain. This includes weapons such as tear gas grenades and other ammunition to suppress demonstrations. Never mind that it’s a bit late to actually affect what’s happening in the street but at least the thought was there!1

The issue has been an ongoing one in the EU since the lifting of the arms embargo back in 2004 with the Belgian courts again stopping arms sales only last year.2

Thirteen months ago the Russians announced a $2 billion deal with the Libyan regime to supply armaments, mainly combat aircraft, tanks, and surface-to-air anti-missile systems.3

In 2008, President Putin visited Libya and cancelled billions of dollars of the nation’s Soviet-era debt in exchange for big new contracts with Russian firms. Prior to this Moammar Gadhafi had visited Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, all of which had offered to supply Libya with weapons. He said he was also discussing possible arms deals with Britain, France, and Italy, “everyone is trying to offer a better choice,” he said.4

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