Sunday, March 08, 2015

What Are We Doing Flooding this Place With Arms?

Saudi Arabia has now displaced India to become the largest armaments importer in the world.  Saudi imports are reported to have shot up an alarming 54% over just the past year.

Among the beneficiaries of the House of Saud's largesse is Canada, having inked a contract to sell nearly $15-billion worth of light armoured fighting vehicles to the fanatical Sunni Muslim kingdom.

Saudi Arabia overtook India to become the world's biggest weapons importer in 2014, a year when global defence trade rose for the sixth straight year to a record $64.4 billion, research company IHS said on Sunday.

The growth in supplies was due to expanding demand from emerging economies for military aircraft and rising tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, IHS, a provider of global market and economic information, said.

The United States remained the top defence exporter in 2014, ahead of Russia, France, Britain and Germany, a top-five ranking unchanged from 2013, IHS said in an annual defence trade report.

"Growth in Saudi Arabia has been dramatic and, based on previous orders, these numbers are not going to slow down,” an IHS statement quoted its senior defence analyst Ben Moores as saying.

Saudi imports rose 54 percent between 2013 and 2014, and based on planned deliveries imports will grow 52 percent to $9.8 billion in 2015, IHS said, without stating the 2014 sales.

This raises many questions.  Exactly what do the Saudi Princes have in mind for all this deathware?  Presumably they didn't order the stuff without some idea for how they would use it.  The Saudi army's only significant operations since Saddam was driven out of Kuwait was democracy suppression in the Gulf States and they can easily stamp out nascent democracy threats with the stuff they already have to hand.

My guess?  They're preparing for an all-out religious war on Iran, a Sunni v. Shiite death match.  If that sounds preposterous, it shouldn't.  It's the very thing that Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan described to former MI6 chief, Sir Richard Dearlove. 

Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."

The article from The Independent is vital to understanding what is really going on beneath the surface in the Middle East and Persia.  Our national narrative, at least in Canada and the US, holds Iran to be the evil one, the state sponsor of terrorism while, in reality, it's Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf States that made the attacks of 9/11, the US embassy bombings, the bombing of the USS Cole, not to mention al Qaeda and ISIS possible.  It's these same people we're arming to the teeth with the latest in high-tech deathware.

It's more than passing curious how readily we denounce Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and plaster it with sanctions but never utter a peep or raise an accusatory finger to the ultimate state sponsor of terrorism, Saudi Arabia. 

Then we assume that Iran, under this enormous existential threat from the Saudis, is seeking a nuclear weapon to attack Israel.  As Gwynne Dyer points out, when Iran has been actively working on enriching uranium, it has been when it felt threatened by Saddam's nuclear weapon programme or Pakistan's.  In other words, Tehran's interest in nuclear weapons has been primarily defensive.  They act when they perceive an existential threat - to Iran, to themselves.  And now, as we're flooding the country that has vowed to eliminate Shiite Islam with weapons that, by their numbers, defy any other explanation than war against Iran, we insist that Iran give up the means to defend itself.  


Steve said...

At least most of the Arms will not remain in Saudi.

The Mound of Sound said...

I have no confidence that the Harper government even asked the Saudis what they intended to do with these light armoured gun wagons much less sold them with any restrictions or stipulations.

Their standard or default attitude seems to be "if we don't supply them, they'll simply get the same thing somewhere else."