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Telling good guns from bad – Just ask Uncle Sam

Published time: February 10, 2012 06:57
Edited time: February 10, 2012 17:21

US-supplied tanks of the Bahraini army take position near Pearl Square in Manama on February 17, 2011 (AFP Photo / Joseph Eid)

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Amid fresh rebel atrocities, US criticism is ringing of arms sales to Syria are ringing hollow as weapons Washington sells to Authoritarian Gulf regimes fall within reach of the Free Syrian Army.

­The situation around Syria is being painted in comic book black and white for the public eye. There is evil Assad. There are his innocent victims. There are heroic countries eager to ride to the rescue in the shiny armor. And there are Russia and China abusing their veto right at the UN Security Council not to allow it. Out of greed or out of solidarity of dictators, depending on whom you ask.

When it comes to Assad, international law is apparently irrelevant for the US. Only morality is. And helping Assad, for instance, by selling arms to his regime, is immoral by default, believes Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN.

“They say there isn’t an international embargo on arms preventing them from doing that. That is a fact. But that doesn’t change the immorality of supplying a dictatorial regime that is killing its people in massive numbers every day. And we are deeply concerned about that and whatever else may have been motivating the Russian and Chinese decision to align themselves repeatedly with Assad and his brutal tactics,” she said in an interview on MSNBC.

The public scolding, however, comes from someone living in a tremendous glass house, critics say.

“The US is hugely hypocritical in this regard. They've long been the largest arms dealer and most of those weapons that the US has sold historically – more than $400 billion worth since the 1960's – have gone to the Middle East. And you can't argue seriously that it’s made that region any more stable in the past five decades,” Corey Pein, editor at warisbusiness.com, told RT.

In the past few years, nearly 50 per cent of US weapon exports have been flowing to the Middle East. Many countries with the biggest appetite for American weapons can be called anything but pillars of democracy and champions of human rights. Some of them, like Bahrain, have also made headlines for carrying out brutal crackdowns against dissidents and opposition groups.

The double standard approach is hard not to notice, says author and journalist Chris Hedges.

“If you're our thug, you're ok and if you're their thug, you're not. For all of us that have been overseas, the duplicity and hypocrisy of American foreign policy is painfully evident,” he told RT.

According to congressional figures, America has sold $1.4 billion worth of weapons to Bahrain since 2000. America struck its single biggest arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which ordered $60 billion worth of arms.

The US has long subsidized the Israeli military and recently supplied them with bunker-buster bombs. Those are handy for attacking other countries’ fortified sites, for instance, Iran’s underground nuclear facilities.

Experts say this strategic arming of Middle Eastern countries is aimed at extending US dominance in the region. Iran coincidentally is the biggest regional force opposing America.

“The deal that is going on right now is a massive build-up against Iran. It’s not at all about human rights issues. It's all about some geopolitical games,”
Gilbert Mercier, editor-in-chief at newsjunkiepost.com, told RT.

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has accused America of playing particularly dirty while leading a campaign for regime change in Syria.

"It’s not some kind of simultaneous uprising situation, when people are rebelling and suddenly they are mysteriously armed and mysteriously arms are being smuggled into Syria from Turkey. Well who is providing these arms? Nobody is asking in the US media. Well these are US arms shipped to Turkey. And from Turkey, it's being smuggled into Syria,” she claimed.

Flushed with record revenue, the American defense industry continues to lobby its interests on Capitol Hill.

“Arms manufacturers are some of the biggest companies in America. They're some of the most powerful… They're even involved in elections, in some ways. In the United States, if you step back and look at it, making weapons is really the last pillar of the manufacturing sector in this country,” Pein explains.

With the Middle East tension evidentially going from bad to worse, the world’s biggest arms seller is unlikely to drop out of business. Neither is it likely to stop advocating peace, especially when the competitors are facing criticism, not the US itself.