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    Saudi army artillery fire shells towards Houthi positions from the Saudi border with Yemen April 13, 2015

    US, EU Arms Lobby Impeding Weapon Export Ban to Saudis – Ex-DoD Analyst

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The resistance of the US and European arms industries and political incentives make it impossible to adopt any bans on Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia, retired Pentagon analyst and US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski told Sputnik.

    Kwiatkowski explained that the other major Western arms-producing and exporting nations were also involved deeply in this trade and were heavily compromised as a result.

    “Many key players who might be able to help in this [banning arms sales to Saudis] are incriminated because they have enthusiastically sold arms to Saudi Arabia — the United States, the United Kingdom (UK) and France have all had major sales in recent years to the House of Saud”, she said.

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    The arms that the US government has authorized for purchase by wealthy autocratic Middle Eastern countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are always older generation technology, Kwiatkowski pointed out.

    “So as the big US defense contractors gear up for the newer, more automated and IT dependent production lines and workforce (demanded by) the ever-increasing US military budget), these companies logically need to re-examine the viability of their older production lines and workforce”, she said.

    Giant military packages to wealthy countries to provide parts, maintenance and repairs for older models of aircraft, missiles, missile delivery systems, intelligence, surveillance and radars solve the over-production problem of the US military industrial complex, Kwiatkowski explained.

    “The major arms deals, like the one concluded by President [Donald] Trump (but prepared under Barack Obama), are publicly described as creating jobs and businesses here at home. These jobs are actually jobs that would have gone away as the older systems phased out”, she said.

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    However, in adding new customers for the older systems, these jobs are preserved, Kwiatkowski observed. “In any case, it is about US jobs, and the US is the world's largest arms exporter”, she said.

    The fact that these weapons exports killed people and were destroying Yemen was really not a concern to a lot of people, Kwiatkowski noted.

    That was “why we are in the fourth year of this US-aided slaughter that fails to relate to any US national security interest. Incidents like the [Jamal] Khashoggi murder, and the US alliance with the intolerant and brutal regime in Saudi Arabia don't really register across the board”, she said.

    If President Donald Trump should not be re-elected to a second term in 2020, the next president likely would continue existing military sales to Saudi Arabia, Kwiatkowski suggested.

    “The US economy is trapped by an industrial infrastructure that promotes war, and human and environmental destruction”, she said. This state of affairs could not continue unabated indefinitely, Kwiatkowski cautioned.

    “Like Nixon's famous economic adviser Herb Stein said, ‘Things that cannot go on forever, don't’ It will stop, probably when the petrodollar completely falters, and the House of Saud flees Saudi Arabia to friendlier territory”, she said.

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    Those two developments were inconceivable a generation ago but they appeared much more likely and imminent now, Kwiatkowski warned.

    “We can see these collapses on the horizon, and twenty years ago, most of us could not”, she said.

    In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017
    © AP Photo / Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader
    On Thursday, German defense industry association BSV managing director, Hans Christoph Atzpodien, told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia would damage the confidence of European partners.

    Earlier this week, Germany’s ruling coalition failed to reach a deal on a Saudi arms sales ban.

    Saudi-led coalition forces armed with US-made missiles and other weapons have reportedly killed thousands of civilians in Yemen since the start of their campaign in 2015.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Karen Kwiatkowski and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    producers, exports, arms, ban, trade, Karen Kwiatkowski, EU, United States, Saudi Arabia
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