US foreign military sales have shot over $50 billion. Another record-breaking year is expected thanks to US ally Saudi Arabia, which accounts for three-fifths of the sum.
”We have already surpassed $50 billion in sales in the fiscal year 2012,” Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told journalists on Thursday.
Though it is three months till the end of the fiscal year, the figure already shows a 70 per cent increase over government-to-government military deals in 2011. Last year also set a record for the US with sales at some $30 billion.
“The sale to Saudi Arabia was very significant,” said Shapiro. The $29.4 billion deal finalized in December included 84 new fighter jets and the modernization of 70 old jets.
Former Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott told RT that Saudi’s big contribution to Washington’s revenues may be explained by the long standing “arms for petrol” relations between the two countries.
“During the oil price hikes of 1971 and 1973 the US negotiated an agreement to pay Saudi Arabia higher prices for crude, on the understanding that Saudi Arabia would recycle the petrodollars, many of them through arms deals,” said Professor Scott. “So recently the imports of American hardware to Saudi Arabia have grown significantly.”
The record-breaking figure also includes the sale of the Joint Strike Fighter to Japan, which is valued at approximately $10 billion, according to the State Department.
As for direct commercial sales, whereby companies sell directly to foreign governments as opposed to government-to-government sales, an official report released the previous week only accounts for 2011. That year brought US contractors some $44 billion with top customers including Jordan, Japan, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan.