January 11, 2007

WEAPONS TRADE: U.S., Russia, Israel Follow the Money

In Washington, emergency supplemental budgets have sparked a “feeding frenzy” for weapons contractors, a military official told the Wall Street Journal. Case in point: The Pentagon’s request for an additional $99.7 billion to buy weapons that won’t be ready for years, and aren’t intended for Iraq or Afghanistan.

Overseas, the United States ended sanctions against a Russian military firm that’s working with Boeing, but imposed new ones against other weapons companies that sell to Iran and Syria. Russia condemned the move as “illegal,” and said the U.S. is denying itself economic opportunity.

Israel has taken its place among the world’s top five weapons exporters with $4.4 billion in sales last year, primarily to India and the United States. Officials report sales to the U.S. jumped from $300 million in 1999 to $1 billion in 2006.

Sources:

“Pentagon redefines ’emergency'”
Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007

“Moscow slams U.S. sanctions on its military firms”
Reuters, January 6, 2007

“2006: Israel defense sales hit record”
Jerusalem Post, January 1, 2007

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