Say what you want about Obama’s militaristic over-enthusiasm when it came to the Middle-East, at least Trump’s predecessor at least attempted to give the impression that he harboured even the slightest humanitarian concern when drowning the region in US-built weapons.
For better or worse, the Trump administration has no such zest for PR. A good example of this is the recent gigantic arms sale to Bahrain; Obama was happy to hand over the 19 fighter jets to Bahrain – arguably the most tyrannical regime in the Middle-East, who effectively dispelled the Arab Spring movement through mass torture – on the condition that they at least ostensibly show a decrease in arbitrary detentions and sectarian apartheid.
Rex Tillerson announced without a hint of shame back in May that the conditions of the sale would be withheld, and sure enough, the authoritarian government of Bahrain described as ‘dismal’ by Human Rights Watch have just received $6 billion worth of the most advanced killing machines on the planet.
Bahrain are already knees-deep contributors to the Saudi-US led ruthless annihilation of Yemen. Considering that they certainly didn’t lack the military tools required to quell pro-democracy movements back in 2013 and the regime has maintained an iron grip on the Bahraini populace ever since, it’s very likely that a significant proportion of these weapons – if not all of them – will be utilised in the bombing of civilian areas in Yemen.
Selling weapons to an allied nation who are guaranteed to use them in a US-directed war is also a convenient way to fudge true US military spending figures. Back in July the House of Representatives voted to increase the annual military budget by 18% to a whopping 696 billion dollars. Not exactly a threadbare budget – in fact, it accounts for 54% of discretionary spending in contrast to only 6% spent on education – but by effectively outsourcing their wars, the US can stow away that cool $6 billion for their next grandiose project.
My money’s on nuking Iran, but every violent possibility remains on the table when the current Secretary of Defence is nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’.
You can see details of the weapons purchased by Bahrain in snapshots of the first DoD announcements below.
Leak of Nations | War in Yemen