News   /   IN-DEPTH   /   More   /   Foreign Policy   /   Editor's Choice

Military sales by West perpetuates war in West Asia

This US Navy handout image taken on December 14, 2001 and obtained on December 19, 2001 shows US Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

One would be hard put to remember a time when no country in West Asia was involved in a war. It seems that the region has always been a war zone, at least in recent memory, and that there have always been one or two countries ravaged by conflict and destruction in the region.

But who started these wars? Who fueled the flames of these wars? Who benefits from the death, destruction and despair of innocent civilians, men, women and children?

Extensive research shows, unsurprisingly, that Western arms manufacturers who sell their weapons to countries in the Middle East are among the main beneficiaries of these wars.

Early in February, the US State Department approved Washington's latest raft of proposed weapons sales to West Asia.  Official figures show that West Asian and North African countries are the biggest buyers of Western made weaponry.

In a report published in March last year, a leading defense Think Tank concluded that international arms sales and purchases have leveled off after years of sharp growth.

Between 2011 and 2015, and 2016 to 2020, deliveries of major weaponry remained at the same level; however, the United States, France, and Germany, have substantially increased their weapons exports in the last six years.

The biggest growth in arms imports was seen in West Asia, where 25% more weapons were imported. Saudi Arabia increased its arms imports by 61%, while Qatar did so by an enormous 361%.

The US remains the world's most prolific arms exporter, supplying major arms to 96 states, with nearly a quarter of it going to Saudi Arabia.

Reports show that not only was the US the largest exporter of major arms, a position it has held since the end of the Cold War, but also its global share of weapons exports increased from 32% to 37%.

From 2016 to 2020, the countries that saw the largest percentage shift in imports compared to the previous five years include Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Other countries, such as Algeria, saw imports increase by 64%, whereas Morocco saw a decrease of 60% and the UAE a reduction of 37% in military acquisitions.

Even so the UAE remained the world's ninth largest importer of arms, the majority of which was secured via the US, France and Russia.

Parts of West Asia have remained interminably unstable for decades, and arms and subsidies from the US and the global north countries have been used by a variety of authoritarian governments and armed groups in the region.

During the 43 month Saudi imposed blockade on Qatar that began in 2017, major US arms exports, to both sides, increased substantially elevating the tensions in the region.

The increases in arms imports by several states in the Middle East occurred against the backdrop of tense relations between several states in the Persian Gulf region, and in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Many states in the region seek to play a major role in West Asia and use arms as a key tool in the pursuit of this aim.

Countries in North America and Europe accounted for 86% of all arms exports, exports from France increased by 44%, with the majority of these weapons being imported by India, Egypt and Qatar.

But where exactly are these weapons being used?

Yemen has been under an unrelenting barrage of Saudi led coalition bombs for the past seven years. Most of the member states of this coalition are also major customers of US military hardware.

Washington is willing to close its eyes on atrocities committed by governments, if they are reliable importers of US made war machines.

Saudi Arabia received billions of dollars in military equipment from Washington between 2009 and 2020. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia acquired by far the largest amount of weaponry from Washington ever, despite a poor human rights record and allegations of extrajudicial killings.

Egypt is the other main importer of global North weapons under President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, there has been a growing prevalence of extrajudicial killings, mass arbitrary arrests, and forced disappearances in the North African country.

US arms exports to Israel rose by 335% in the past six years, Israeli soldiers use the weapons to drive Palestinian people out of their homes and grab their lands

Rather than supporting peace, the Global North continues its colonial tradition of warmongering. It also explains the lack of concrete action against occupations and other abuses.

Apparently war, is the most lucrative and sustainable business these countries have their hands in.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku