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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Hiding in Plain Sight – US Military Sales Gone Rogue? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on February 18, 2019

Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, wrote a memo in 2009 that was released by WikiLeaks. The memo acknowledged state “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide… Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar e-Tayyiba], and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources.”

https://original.antiwar.com/kimberly_dvorak/2019/02/17/hiding-in-plain-sight-us-military-sales-gone-rogue/

In the 60s the US military had the ingenious idea to purge the armed services of excess and dated weaponry that would increase operational capability of US forces and allow America’s allies to purchase military equipment that would improve interoperability. Congress formally created the Foreign Military Sales program (FMS), however, like any well-intentioned government program, it morphed into something other than its intended purpose, in this case, an international arms trafficking business…

For example, military defense contractors, like Lockheed Martin, have partnered with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the state-owned company Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center (AMMROC) to weaponize Black Hawk helicopters and Falcon F-16s (block 60/61), American’s workhorse fighter.

The latter is especially troubling because Lockheed Martin is PARTNERING with UAE to build the most advanced technological F-16s inside the Emirates. Federal law explicitly prohibits the modification of US military weapons and systems transferred under the FMS program. But increasingly, US defense industries are venturing with foreign corporations to manufacture and supply state of the art weaponry under the aegis of national security…

The original statutory law included strict guidelines that partner nations could not be sponsors of terrorism or human rights violators. However, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been designated as sponsors of terrorism. Both countries are listed on the State Department’s human rights list. Those designations should exclude KSA and UAE from participating in the FMS/FMF/DSCA programs. A White House waiver is required to sell FMS to countries in violation of the statute based upon a presidential finding that the sales meet US “national security” requirements.

The consequences for broadening foreign military sales to questionable state actors are plentiful. A 2017 Reuters article highlighted the Emirates violated the UN arms embargo in Libya by aiding military commander Khalifa Haftar. UAE provided enhanced air superiority to Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to gain the upper hand last year in a conflict between rival groups vying for control of Libya.

The United Nations also said it received evidence that attack helicopters were delivered to the LNA group in April 2015. The UN report published “a photo of an AT-802i single-engine plane which was based in eastern Libya. The plane, originally designed for agricultural or firefighting use, was repurposed in the United States for counter-insurgency [operations] and sold to the UAE.”

The UN also confirmed LNA received a shipment of “… Ninety-three armored personnel carriers and 549 armored and non-armored vehicles …” destined for the LNA in April 2016. The report concluded Saudi Arabian carriers’ shipped Panther T6 and Tygra models; coincidentally, companies based in the UAE, modified and delivered those weapons to the North African battlefield.

The so-called “partnership” between US corporations and the UAE is highlighted in a Human Rights Watch Report (HRW) written last month accusing the UAE of playing a leading role as Saudi Arabia’s proxy in the war in Yemen. HRW argued that the UAE “conducted scores of unlawful attacks in Yemen.”

They “documented 87 unlawful coalition attacks, some likely war crimes, that have killed nearly 1,000 civilians.”…

When it comes to terrorism, numerous think tanks and academia believe Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. In fact, this week the EU took an extraordinary action to curb terrorist funding by adding the House of Saud to the list of Terror-Funding Nations. “We have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world, but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system,” Vera Jourova, the European commissioner said in a statement. “Dirty money is the lifeblood of organized crime and terrorism.”

Even the Obama administration understood the terrorism realities. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, wrote a memo in 2009 that was released by WikiLeaks. The memo acknowledged state “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide… Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar e-Tayyiba], and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources.”

Mrs. Clinton also confirmed the Saudi government was doing little to curb its ties with Royal family members funding terrorism that continues to kill Americans and its allies in the region…

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