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US-UAE weapons deal is detrimental to peace

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes part in a meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on September 19, 2019. (Reuters photo)

By Jeremy Kuzmarov

Yeah, I think this deal is detrimental to peace. I think the UAE is a very repressive regime. They've been involved covertly in supporting the war in Yemen, which is in alliance with Saudi Arabia, which has caused terrible human cataclysm in Yemen, and terrible suffering for the Yemeni people, and weapons that the US has provided in the past have been used to kill civilians.

So, this is just very bad, I think. I think, the Obama administration had huge arms sales but Trump has just expanded it even further. And there's really no regard for human rights issues as far as the regimes that Trump is willing to sell arms with.

And I think this deal went forward because of the recent agreement Israel and the UAE and signed this restore normal diplomatic relations so that may have set the groundwork for this deal.

But I think it's very bad for the region and some of these repressive and autocratic regimes have ever more sophisticated weaponry including drones which they could use to spy on their own people, or again these weapons could be used in wars like in Yemen to kill civilians.

So I think it's something that progressives should be opposed to, and I would hope that the new Biden administration will be pressured to cut back on some of these kinds of deals.

Will there be a change in US foreign policy under Biden?

Well, I think that's the case, because you have to look at who's financing the two major political parties, and there was actually a good article in the Nation magazine that points to the fact that Biden received more money from military contractors than Trump. Biden received something like $24 million from these companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Some of them were hedge funds who had major stock ownership who were giving money to Biden.

So, yeah I mean Trump was heavily tied with the so-called military-industrial complex, and I mean yeah these, this arms deal to UAE, I mean the big beneficiary of these companies like Lockheed Martin or General Atomics which manufactures drones or Raytheon, and they give to both parties, and increasingly they're giving more to the Democrats because I think they view Trump as unstable.

And he gives a bad image for the United States, and also Trump in some areas, he was threatening to cut back troops like in Afghanistan, and Africa. He's mentioned that he might want to cut back on troops in the Africom. So they don't like that.

Read more:

Trump administration approves $23 billion weapons package for UAE

And, you know, Biden has said that he will basically sustain the military budget. He's not planning any major cuts to the US military budget, which is more than the next eight or nine countries combined. Like the US spends upwards of $800 billion on the military every year. And it's just a bonanza of untrammeled profits for the corporations that give money to both parties and increasingly to the Democratic Party.

So yeah I wouldn't think there will be a major change. There'll be a change in tone from the White House and a little more rationality from the commander-in-chief, but I think he's going to be continuing a very militaristic policy and sustaining the US Empire’s military bases.

And there may be more of a shift toward Southeast Asia, and towards containment of Russia seems to be the priority of the Biden administration. So it's possible there would be some retreat from the Middle East, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Jeremy Kuzmarov is J.P. Walker assistant professor of history, University of Tulsa and author of The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs (Massachusetts, 2009) and Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century (Massachusetts, 2012).

He recorded this article for Press TV website. 

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