(Courtesy of Thoughts on the Eve of Apocalypse)
U.S. Ramps Up Arms Supplies to Repressive Regimes
by Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service News Agency
UNITED NATIONS, May 25 (IPS) - The United States has accelerated arms sales to some of the world's most repressive and undemocratic regimes since the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, according to a new report from leading arms trade researchers.
The report, from the Arms Trade Resource Centre at New York-based New School University's World Policy Institute, says the increase in sales and military grants is a payoff to countries that have either joined what the White House calls its ''war on terror'' or have backed the United States in its military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
A majority of U.S. arms sales to the developing world also go to regimes ''defined as undemocratic by our own State Department'' or foreign ministry, says the study.
According to the report, U.S.-supplied arms are involved in a majority of the world's active conflicts, including Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Colombia, Pakistan, Israel, and the Philippines.
The study cites the recent decision by the administration of President George W. Bush to provide new F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan while pledging comparable high-tech military hardware to India -- thereby providing U.S. arms to both sides in a long brewing conflict among two nuclear-armed rivals.
And the tens of millions of dollars in U.S. arms transfers to Uzbekistan -- where more than 160 anti-government demonstrators were killed last week -- ''exemplify the negative consequences of arming repressive regimes,'' it says.
According to the study, countries defined as ''undemocratic'' in the State Department's annual human rights report also are major recipients of U.S. military aid or U.S. weapons systems.
These include: Saudi Arabia (1.1 billion dollars in 2003), Egypt (1.0 billion dollars), Kuwait (153 million dollars), United Arab Emirates (110 million dollars), and Uzbekistan (33 million dollars).
''Arming repressive regimes while simultaneously proclaiming a campaign against tyranny undermines the credibility of the United States and makes it harder to hold other nations to high standards of conduct on human rights and other key issues,'' said Frida Berrigan, co-author of the study, 'U.S. Weapons at War 2005: Promoting Freedom or Fueling Conflict?'.