Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"... uncomfortable reading for the British government..." (and most Western governments!)

(UPI) -- "... It described London's action as "vigorous back-pedaling" and declared the withdrawals reflected the extent "of policy misjudgment that has occurred."
The report, issued in April, "will be uncomfortable reading for the (British) government, which put trade at the heart of its diplomatic mission," the Financial Times observed.
The newspaper reported that British export license approvals since January 2009 have covered "components for military helicopters in Algeria, submachine guns and tear gas to Bahrain, machine guns to Egypt and hand grenades to Jordan."
British defense contractors have also sold "small arms ammunition to Syria, hand grenades, sniper rifles and tear gas to Saudi Arabia and shotguns to Morocco."
John Stanley, chairman of the investigating committee, suggested that Bahrain may have used British-made equipment, including sniper rifles sold to the tiny Persian Gulf monarchy and armored personnel carriers sold to Saudi Arabia... Arguably the most controversial of the U.K. arms sales were those to the Libyan regime of Moammar Gadhafi,... Britain isn't the only Western state to fall under scrutiny since the Middle East bloodletting began as authoritarian regimes, long tolerated by the West, came under threat from their own people...
The irony of the fighting in Libya is that the NATO members that are bombarding Gadhafi's forces under a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, are using the conflict to showcase their combat jets and weapons systems to potential buyers."

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