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par Caleb MAUPIN
Every year the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) releases a study on military spending around the world. This year’s report contains many interesting details. Some things in the report presented by the United Nations Commission on disarmament on April 14, 2014 have not changed at all. As has been the case for decades, the United States remains the largest military spender in the world, despite the much heralded "defense cuts". The US, NATO, and "non-NATO US allies" account for over 64 % of all military spending in the world.
The report, however, pointed out that US aligned regimes in the Middle East are rapidly increasing their military spending, and purchasing modern, high-tech weapons. The list of US aligned states in the Middle East is a collection of autocratic, repressive kingdoms and emirates. These countries are not "democratic" by any stretch. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and other states are absolute monarchies. People are flogged, stoned, and beheaded routinely. Torture goes on without apology, and no elections take place. "Free speech" is nearly non-existent, as people are locked up, arbitrarily killed, and otherwise repressed for speaking out. Those who consume US TV and print media are constantly bombarded with "journalism" demonizing the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Syrian Arab Republic, while the crimes of this lengthy list of US backed Middle Eastern states, which make not even the slightest pretense of being democratic, are ignored. The US props up these autocratic states with billions of dollars in foreign aid, and Wall Street oil corporations make trillions in profits through control of their natural resources. When the population of these states has risen up and demanded democratic and economic rights, these regimes use their stockpiles of US made weapons to gun down protesters, burn entire neighborhoods, and enforce their rule with terror and violence. The violent response to recent uprisings in Bahrain, the jailing of poets in Qatar, and the continued US coddling of their monarchs shows the complete hypocrisy of any "human rights" rhetoric from Washington D.C.
However, in the last year these US puppet regimes in the Middle East have increasingly embraced the business of war. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now the fourth largest military spender in the entire world. It is stockpiling modern missiles, tanks, and other high tech mechanisms of destruction and death. Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are also increasing their military build-up. These regimes are currently funding, training, and arming the insurgent groups in Syria, where over 100000 people have already died in what was once a peaceful country. The millions of refugees in Syria are desperately fleeing to other parts of the region, as "rebels" burn their homes, kidnap their children, and carry out public beheadings. Money and weapons flowing from US-backed autocratic regimes is keeping the four-year civil war going, with more people dying each day.
The rise in military spending in the Middle East points toward plans for a wider war. The turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 that resulted in the removal of US puppet Hosni Mubarak, and the failure to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic after years of civil war, point toward a real weakness in US influence in the Middle East. When Obama announced he intended to rain cruise missiles on Syria, he was forced to back down. As the US aligned autocratic states in the gulf build up their military power, it looks as if some kind of desperate drive to regain lost influence may be in the works.