World Awash in Arms is a Tinderbox

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World Awash in Arms is a Tinderbox

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Arms and munitions merchants of death and destruction never had things better, especially US ones — flooding world markets with small arms and hugely destructive weapons.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the US is the world’s largest arms exporter by far — followed by Russia, France, Germany and China.

During the 2014 – 2018 period, these nations accounted for 75% of arms exports.

In the 2014 – 2018 period, the US share of the global arms market rose from 30 – 36%. Russia was second with a 12% market share.

Combined, EU countries had 27% of global arms exports in the 2014 – 2018 period.

According to SIPRI’s director Aude Fleurant, “(t)he USA has further solidified its position as the world’s leading arms supplier,” adding:

“The USA exported arms to at least 98 countries in the past five years; these deliveries often included advanced weapons such as combat aircraft, short-range cruise and ballistic missiles, and large numbers of guided bombs.”

More than half of US arms exports go to Middle East countries. Arms exports to the region nearly doubled in the past five years.

During the 2014 – 2018 period, Middle East countries imported 35% of global arms exports, Saudi Arabia the largest buyer — increasing its arms purchases in the period by 192% compared to 2009 – 2013.

SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman said “(w)eapons from the USA, the United Kingdom and France are in high demand in the Gulf region, where conflicts and tensions are rife.”

The US and Britain are the leading arms suppliers to the Saudis, its purchases used for terror-bombing and ground operations in Yemen, along with domestic oppression.

The Indo/Pacific/Oceania region imported 40% of global arms in the 2014 – 2018 period. Main buyers were India, Australia, China, South Korea and Vietnam.

The Middle East is the world’s leading tinderbox because of ongoing wars of aggression by the US, NATO, the Saudis, and UAE, Israeli state terror against Palestinians, along with terror-bombing of Syrian targets at its discretion, as well as the threat of US aggression against nonbelligerent Iran.

Interviewed by Al Jazeera on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said the flood of US arms to the Middle East, notably to Gulf states, turned the region into a “tinderbox ready to blow up,” adding:

“The US (sold) $50 billion worth of weapons to the region last year. Some of the countries in the region with less than a third of our population spend $87 billion on military procurement.” 

“Let’s make a comparison; Iran spent last year $16 billion on all its military with almost one million people in the army.”

“The UAE with a total population of one million spent $22 billion. Saudi Arabia spent $87 billion. If you are talking about threats coming from the region, the threats are coming from the US and its allies who are pouring weapons in the region…”

The Persian Gulf “is a tiny body of water, and the more foreign naval vessels you have in (it) the less secure it is for everybody.” 

“Based on experience, the presence of US and foreign naval fleets in the Persian Gulf have never produced security” — just the opposite.

“We have sad memories of a US ship downing an Iranian airliner in 1988, killing 290 passengers. We believe the best the Americans can do for protection of maritime navigation is to just leave people alone.” 

“Don’t interfere. This is a hostile act against Iran and I don’t believe (it can) any other impact other than insecurity.”

The US under both extremist wings of its war party is a belligerent state, waging preemptive wars of aggression against nations threatening no one.

All sovereign independent nations it doesn’t control are on its target list for regime change.

Attacking Iran would be disastrous for the region. What’s unthinkable is possible because of lunatics infesting the Washington asylum.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.