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article imageOp-Ed: U.S. posts record $66.3 billion in arms sales in 2011

By Ken Hanly     Aug 27, 2012 in World
Washington - From 2010 to 2011 U.S. weapons sales tripled to developing countries. U.S. sales constituted more than three quarters of the global market. Russia was the next largest supplier with $4.8 billion in sales.
Although the global economy may be in decline U.S. arms exports increased from $21.4 billion in 2010 to $66.3 billion last year. The next highest level of arms exports was in 2009 at almost $31 billion less than half the amount in 2011.
A New York Times graph shows the percentage of arms transfers to developing countries by a group of countries. In 2010 the U.S. had a 44% share. Russia managed a 24% share and China just 5%. In 2011 the U.S. share surged to 79% while Russia plunged to 6% and China managed only 3%.
Even though times are tough in many places, Persian Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman have made huge purchases of U.S. weapons since they have plenty of oil revenues. They worry about what might happen if there were an attack on Iran. Rhetoric about attacking Iran is obviously a great boon for the U.S. military-industrial complex.
The annual report was prepared by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. This report is thought to be the most detailed arms sales data available to the general public.
Among the Gulf States Saudi Arabia is a huge customer. Last year the country purchased 84 advanced F-15 fighters, ammunition, missiles, and also upgrades to 70 of its present F-15 fleet.
The Saudis also bought dozens of Apache and Black Hawk helicopters. The total bill was $33.4 billion. The Saudis had plenty of money left over to go on a property buying spree in Europe.
. The UAE bought an expensive Terminal High Altitude Area Defense valued at a cool $3.49 billion and 16 Chinook helicopters for almost a billion. Even Oman bought 18 F-16 fighters for $1.4 billion. Israel often expresses worries about such sales but is provided with even more advanced weapons. Of almost $71.5 billion spent by the Gulf States about $56.3 billion was spent in the U.S.
Much to China's annoyance the U.S. also sold Patriot antimissile batteries for almost $2 billion to Taiwan. The U.S. sold India $4.1 billion in transport planes.
The U.S. in 2012 spent $711 billion on arms which is 4.7% of GDP. The U.S. ranks first in the world in spending on arms and has 41% of world expenditures. China is in second place with expenditures of $143 billion or 2% of GDP. Its global share is 8.7%. Saudi Arabia spends a whopping 8.2% of its GDP on arms and a total of $48.2 billion. The military-industrial complex is thriving even though the global economy may be in the doldrums.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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