Gun Merchants Seek Profit in Mideast Peace the US Has Emerged as the Largest Arms Supplier to Middle East Countries, but Other Nations Are Now Trying to Catch Up

By John Battersby, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 1995 | Go to article overview

Gun Merchants Seek Profit in Mideast Peace the US Has Emerged as the Largest Arms Supplier to Middle East Countries, but Other Nations Are Now Trying to Catch Up


John Battersby, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


DESPITE progress toward Mideast peace, the region has become embattled by fierce competition among the world's leading arms suppliers -- the US, Germany, Russia, France, Britain, and China.

The launch last week of a sophisticated spy satellite was the latest effort in Israel's quest to retain a strategic advantage over its heavily militarized Arab neighbors.

Ofek-3, part of an ongoing Israeli satellite program using components from the United States, will soon beam back photographs of neighboring Arab countries that will make it possible to read automobile license plates in Baghdad.

War for weapons

The headlong contest to acquire more modern and effective weapons systems -- once driven mainly by the prospect of war with Israel -- is being fueled now by tensions among Muslim-run states, security concerns triggered by the Gulf war and, ironically, by the side effects of rewarding Arab states that sign peace accords with Israel with arms.

Last year, some 26 percent of the world's arms sales were concluded with Middle Eastern countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States -- United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. The US was by far the largest arms supplier to the region.

In 1993, the US sealed 72.6 percent of all new arms transfers of weapons to poorer countries. The bulk of these transfers were to the Middle East, which bucked the global trend of falling arms sales since the end of the cold war.

"There are such huge forces driving the arms race that it is difficult to pass moral judgment on the countries in the Middle East that are buying the weapons," says Zeev Eytan, co-author of the Middle East Military Balance, published by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.

"I have become accustomed to it. It is like a bad way of life," Mr. Eytan says, pointing out that the arms race is being driven by major suppliers that are trying to catch up with the US.

The US emerged as the world's greatest arms supplier after the collapse of the Soviet Union and a global shift away from ideology as a determinant of international relations. In February, the US adopted an arms--sales policy that puts commercial considerations first and is free of the ideological restraint associated with the cold war period.

So, when the US appeals to Russia to halt its sale of sophisticated weapons and a military reactor to Iran, it cuts little ice with Moscow.

"We have no moral standing to tell the Russians and the Chinese not to sell arms to rogue states because we out-competed them in sales to the nonrogue states of the Middle East," says Lawrence Korb, a defense specialist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

The seemingly insatiable Middle Eastern appetite for sophisticated weaponry and defense systems was highlighted at an arms bazaar extravaganza held in mid-March in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, fast becoming a compulsory venue for international arms manufacturers.

"The Abu Dhabi arms bazaar has assumed tremendous importance among arms suppliers," says Joanna Spear, research fellow at Harvard's Center for Science and International Affairs. "It seems to be the place to take your best and latest weaponry."

Attended by some 600 companies from nearly 50 nations, the bazaar exhibited a dazzling array of military technology including a wide selection of naval gunships, attack helicopters, ground-to-air and sea-to-air missiles, and weapons systems.

Arab officials from more than a dozen countries sat transfixed in a large auditorium as demonstrations of ground-to-air missiles and other weaponry flashed by on triple audio-visual units accompanied by racy sales commentaries.

The organizer of the conference, the UAE's Brig. Gen. Sultan Suwaidi, predicted that Arab states would purchase more than $60 billion of arms and hi-tech military equipment over the next five years. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gun Merchants Seek Profit in Mideast Peace the US Has Emerged as the Largest Arms Supplier to Middle East Countries, but Other Nations Are Now Trying to Catch Up
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.