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Ed Webb

The rise of the Kurdish gun market - Al Jazeera English - 1 views

  • Mahmood said he would sell "without hesitation" to Yazidis, Christians or foreign fighters aiding the Kurds in their fight against ISIL.
  • Members of the Kurdish Peshmerga, including foreign fighters, have been among the most frequent customers at the gun markets in Sulaimania
  • One shop owner estimated at least 20 percent of his clientele were members of the Kurdish military force. Peshmerga, who receive a 25 percent discount at some shops, supplement their issued equipment with their own salaries
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  • Russian and Chinese AK-47s, which were standard issue in the Iraqi army under Saddam, are the cheapest and most popular weapons among the Peshmerga, selling for $450 a piece, vendors said. M16s, issued to the Iraqi army by the US via Iraq's interim government, are also plentiful and popular, but cost around $2,500
Ed Webb

Senate Democrats hold up arms sales for Saudi war in Yemen - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of t... - 2 views

  • Congress was notified Aug. 19 of the Obama administration's intent to provide Riyadh with thousands of precision-guided munitions. The sale is linked to the administration's effort to placate Gulf countries' concerns about the Iranian nuclear deal, but it has hit a snag with Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who want to see the Saudi-led campaign reeled in.
  • “I fear that our failure to strongly advocate diplomacy in Yemen over the past two years, coupled with our failure to urge restraint in the face of the crisis last spring, may put the viability of this critical [US-Saudi] partnership at risk,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “The Leahy Law prohibits US security assistance — and many forms of defense cooperation — with forces that have engaged in gross violations of human rights. If reports are accurate, the Saudi indiscriminate targeting in the air campaign and an overly broad naval blockade could well constitute such violations.”
  • While the sale is almost certain to go through eventually, they hope to use it as leverage to win concessions on kick-starting political negotiations with the Houthis and lifting the blockade
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  • Critics of the sale in particular point out that Riyadh has been able to derive extra legitimacy from the US support for its campaign.

    “We are very careful in picking targets. We have very precise weapons,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CBS News after an airstrike killed more than 130 people at a wedding reception. “We work with our allies, including the United States, on these targets.”

  • Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “It's not all bad that the Saudis decided that they wanted to act immediately in Yemen. I don't think we need to be 'mother may I' in terms of folks acting in their own security interests in the region. But I am struck by the level of their response compared to what I view as an extremely tepid response to Sunni extremism. It's not just Iranian influence in the region that should trouble us.”
Ed Webb

Lebanon reaps weapons windfall from Congress - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 1 views

  • Congress over the past year has approved more than $1 billion in proposed arms sales for the Lebanese armed forces, including attack aircraft and helicopters. And lawmakers on Sept. 29 cemented Beirut's status as a key ally with the release of a compromise annual defense bill that puts Lebanon on equal footing with longtime partner Jordan
  • aircraft sales would provide the Lebanese armed forces with close air support seen as crucial for strikes against IS militants along the border. Saudi Arabia is helping foot the bill through a $1 billion grant to Lebanon.
Ed Webb

Oryx Blog: British Accuracy International AWM sniper rifles in Syria, From Russia with ... - 1 views

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    British sniper rifles were sold to Russia, now being used by Assad's forces, which routinely snipe women & children http://t.co/1aLdSyqKTS
Ed Webb

Obama: Global arms dealer-in-chief | Middle East Eye - 2 views

  • A newly released report reveals Obama is the greatest arms exporter since the Second World War. The dollar value of all major arms deals overseen by the first five years of the Obama White House now exceeds the amount overseen by the Bush White House in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion
  • I knew there were record deals with the Saudis, but to outsell the eight years of Bush, to sell more than any president since World War II, was surprising even to me, who follows these things quite closely. The majority, 60 percent, have gone to the Persian Gulf and Middle East, and within that, the Saudis have been the largest recipient of things like US fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, bombs, guns, almost an entire arsenal
  • The Congressional Research Service found that since October 2010 alone, President Obama has agreed to sell $90.4 billion in arms to the Gulf kingdom.

    “That President Obama would so enthusiastically endorse arming such a brutal authoritarian government is unsurprising, since the United States is by far the leading arms dealer (with 47 percent of the world total) to what an annual State Department report classifies as the world’s “least democratically governed states,” notes Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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  • In 2008, the United Nations banned the use of cluster munitions - an agreement the US is yet to ratify. Why? Cluster bombs are the number one seller for Textron Systems Corporation – a Wall Street-listed company located in Providence, Rhode Island
  • In February of this year, the Obama administration announced it would allow the sale of US manufactured armed drones to its allies in the Middle East
Ed Webb

Moscow Relishes Revamped Role in Mideast as Israel Seeks Assurances in Syria | Foreign ... - 1 views

  • Israel fears the Kremlin’s buildup could further escalate the Syrian civil war and embolden Iran and Hezbollah, its two greatest foes in the Middle East, both of which have joined Moscow in supporting Damascus. Amid uncertainty over Russia’s role in Syria, Netanyahu’s visit is meant to prevent a scenario in which the Israeli army and Russian forces accidentally fire at each other. The Israeli prime minister also seeks assurances from Putin that advanced weapons in Syria won’t be used to help arm Hezbollah, with whom Israel fought a devastating war in 2006.
  • Israel and Russia will establish a coordination mechanism to prevent clashes between their forces on the Syrian border
  • In the past, Israel and Russia have managed to agree on security issues through concessions to one another. Israel halted military supplies to Georgia after a war in 2008 with Russia. In exchange, Moscow shelved plans to supply the S-300 air defense system to Iran and Syria.
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  • Russia is Israel’s top oil supplier
  • Israel also has remained neutral in the Ukraine conflict, refusing to support American and European efforts to denounce Russia’s annexation of Crimea or join the Western sanctions regime against Moscow
  • Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, an elite unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, visited Moscow in July to coordinate Russian and Iranian support for Assad. Moreover, Russian officials now say they expect to agree to terms on the delivery of the S-300s to Iran by the end of the year, though it is unclear when it will go ahead
Ed Webb

CHARTS: US Overseas Arms Sales More Than Tripled in 2011 | Mother Jones - 0 views

  • Much of the surge was driven exclusively by the ongoing freak-out over Iran: Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (all Persian Gulf allies or partners of the United States) in particular started buying missile defense systems, fighter jets, and other hardware from the US at record levels, just in case Iran ever goes nuclear and tries to throw its weight around West Asia and the Gulf. Saudi Arabia's $33.4 billion deal included dozens of F-15 fighter jets and Black Hawk helicopters. The UAE threw down $4.5 billion for a missile shield and other toys.
Sana Usman

India is depressing with Pak-China ties. A.K. Anthony - 0 views

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    Despite Pakistan has awarded the rank of "Most Favorite Nation" to India, yet Indian insanity to gather / assemble deadly weapons against its neighbors is still at its peak.
Sana Usman

Clinton failed to impress India, Oil supply continue from Iran - 0 views

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    NEW DELHI: U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton failed to impress India on oil supply issue with Iran. India said it communal the United States' aim of preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons, but claims that Islamic republic of Iran remained an "important source of oil".
Ed Webb

Israel's Nuclear Ambiguity Reconsidered - 2 views

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    I have asked the W-S library to acquire a copy of the book discussed here
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    the last sentence there is a keeper. ah, the wonder of rhetoric - thus, when I informed a friend that I'd declared a double major in ENGL and POSC, he replied with "Oh, so you're going to be a professional bullshitter?"
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