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"Liberal" Trudeau joins blood-soaked race for arms deals with Mideast despots

By       Message Finian Cunningham       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Reprinted from RT

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
(Image by Alex Guibord)
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In a remarkable spectacle of money-grubbing over arms deals, this month saw a parade of Western leaders jettisoning any pretense of upholding vaunted "liberal values" to court despotic Mideast regimes.
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Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister who sent liberal hearts aflutter when he was elected in November, with his espousal of feminism among other progressive causes, is the latest Western leader to show where real priorities lie. Trudeau signed off on a $11 billion deal with Saudi Arabia to export armored vehicles to the blood-soaked repressive regime.

With astounding cynicism, the 44-year-old Canadian premier said he was duty-bound to fulfill the arms contract drawn up by the previous administration as "a matter of principle" in order to demonstrate that his country's "word means something in the international community."

This week also saw US President Barack Obama in Saudi Arabia where he glad-handed King Salman and other Gulf monarchs, lauding them as partners in maintaining regional stability and fighting against terrorism. Conspicuously, Obama made little or no mention of human rights violations in the oil-rich kingdom where mass beheadings are a common method of capital punishment.

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Western media talked about "strained relations" between Obama and his Saudi hosts. But underlying the superficial optics it was business as usual. Big business. US military affairs publication Defense One reported that high on Obama's agenda was securing a $13 billion contract for warships and submarine-hunting helicopters with the House of Saud.

Before Obama touched down in Riyadh, his administration had angered American families by announcing that it would veto a bill going through Congress that could enable relatives of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue the Saudi rulers for their alleged involvement in sponsoring that atrocity. The topic didn't even arise for discussion during Obama's visit, indicating the president's real concerns in meeting the Saudi and other Gulf rulers.

France has also nabbed market share from Western rivals in the Persian Gulf where over the past year Paris has sold billions of dollars' worth of its Rafale fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Similar prevarication over human rights is brazenly shown by the British government of David Cameron in its arms dealing with Saudi Arabia and the wider region. The Saudi-led war in Yemen has been a boon for British sales of bombs and missiles, even though as many as 9,000 Yemenis have been killed over the past year, many of them civilians from aerial bombing by Saudi warplanes.

Britain's foreign minister, Philip Hammond, has dismissed condemnations by human rights groups in regard to Yemen, claiming that British weapons exports meet tough standards of international law. Britain, like Canada and other Western governments, makes the cynical claim that its military exports are not used for "internal repression" and that if it is proven that weapons are being used to kill civilians in Yemen then trade licenses will be canceled.

So what is Saudi Arabia dropping on Yemen? Cuddly British-made toys?

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Duplicity of Western governments doing business with despotic regimes is nothing new. The Middle East's absolute monarchs have long been a staple of American and other Western so-called "defense industries." In 2010, the Obama administration signed a $60 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia -- the biggest in US history.

During the 1980s, Britain under Margaret Thatcher won a comparable mammoth contract with Saudi Arabia known as the Yamamah deal.

Massive arms sales to tyrannical regimes give the real meaning to hackneyed euphemisms spouted by the likes of Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Trudeau, when they cite "regional partners for stability." What they mean by stability is uninterrupted orders for weapons.

What is new, though, is the lack of discretion in how the West now pursues arms deals in the Mideast.

Western governments are apparently falling over themselves to bid for business. Yet this unseemly rush for arms selling is sharply at odds with not only intensifying repression within Middle Eastern "partner" regimes; it has also become abundantly clear that some of these same regimes are directly responsible for sponsoring terrorism in the region. The case of Saudi Arabia and its sponsorship of Wahhabi terror proxies in Syria, Libya and Iraq is perhaps the most glaring.

Part of the burgeoning Western race for arms business is related to the historical demise of their capitalist economies and the emergence of military industries as key components in whatever remains of gutted manufacturing sectors.

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Author and journalist. Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal (more...)
 

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