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    Arms Race in the Gulf: US Pits Region Against Iran – Scholar

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    Washington is pouring gasoline on the flames in the Middle East in order to convince its Arab allies to buy US-made weapons, Hisham Jaber, the head of the Middle East Center for Studies and Public Relations, has told Sputnik, adding that large stockpiles of arms are standing idle in the desert, while the Gulf kingdoms are striking new arms deals.

    The United States is deliberately manipulating the states of the Persian Gulf into acquiring more and more weapons, Hisham Jaber, the head of the Middle East Center for Studies and Public Relations, told Sputnik Arabic.

    According to Jaber, the Persian Gulf states are buying arms "not only to fight terrorism but for a [possible] war with some potential adversary."

    "Over the recent years, the Arab countries have spent $700 billion on military contracts," the scholar said. "The US is persuading the countries of the Persian Gulf that Iran is a potential enemy, although [the latter] didn't drop any hints about the possibility of war."

    As a result of this strategy the Gulf States have accumulated large stockpiles of weapons "that stand uselessly in the desert gradually turning into a pile of metal," Jaber noted.

    The scholar pointed out that recently the US has allowed the Arab countries to boost their military arsenals by acquiring weapons from European states, for instance, Russia and France. "However, these are relatively small amounts, while the US remains the major supplier," he emphasized.

    According to Jaber, the Americans know how to force the Arabs to increase their military spending. The US is fanning the flames in the region in order to have a promising market for its weapons. The scholar believes that the war in Iraq was launched for this particular reason.

    He focused attention on the fact that the acquired arms are not being used in counterterrorism operations, since they were designed for waging wars with an adversary's regular army.

    Commenting on the recent French-Qatar multi-billion dollar arms deal, Jaber suggested that Doha "is demonstrating its military might and shows that it invests money in the economy of friendly countries."

    "Doha is trying to win as many allies as possible to oppose the rest of the Gulf countries," the scholar explained.

    French Air Force Rafale manufactured by France's Dassault Aviation speeds above Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, during the 44th Paris Air Show, in France. (File)
    © AP Photo / Remy de la Mauviniere
    French Air Force Rafale manufactured by France's Dassault Aviation speeds above Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, during the 44th Paris Air Show, in France. (File)

    On December 7, Reuters reported that Doha was going to acquire 12 Dassault Aviation-made Rafale fighter jets with the prospect of purchasing 36 more and 490 armored vehicles by defense firm Nexter. In general the deal amounts to 12 billion euros ($14.13 billion).

    It was earlier reported that the US Department of Defense allowed Raytheon Co. to provide $150-million worth of Patriot air defense systems and associated equipment to Doha. Qatar hosts the Al Udeid Airbase, as well as the headquarters of the US Central Command and US Air Forces Central Command.

    The move comes amidst an ongoing diplomatic row between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt abruptly severed ties with Doha, accusing the latter of backing terrorists, which Qatar denies.

    Meanwhile the US continues to increase its global arms sales. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the US emerged as an absolute leader among the global arms manufacturers with a combined total of $217.2 billion in 2016.

    The institute highlighted that the American defense contractors had managed to increase their sales by 4 percent in 2016, due to "US military operations overseas" and "acquisitions of large weapon systems by other countries."

    The views and opinions expressed by Hisham Jaber are those of the scholar and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    arms race, weapons, MIM-104 Patriot, Rafale fighter jets, US Department of Defense (DoD), Pentagon, Iran, United States, Middle East, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France
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