Conventional Arms Sales

Stoking the Nuclear Fire

by Michael Klare
published in MER112

For years, US leaders have attempted to muffle opposition to overseas arms sales by arguing that transfers of conventional, non-nuclear munitions reduce the risk of nuclear war. If we provide our allies with adequate conventional defenses, the argument goes, they will not be motivated to acquire nuclear defenses. But conventional arms sales to the Middle East have not reduced the risk of nuclear war. In fact, the opposite is true: Cascading arms sales to the region are making nuclear war more, not less likely.

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(No) Dialogue in Bahrain

by Toby Matthiesen | published February 13, 2014

In the run-up to the third anniversary of the Bahraini uprising on February 14, 2011, mass protests with tens of thousands of participants again engulfed the small kingdom. At the same time, a number of contacts between the opposition and the royal family sparked hopes of renewed high-level negotiations leading to the resolution of the long-standing conflict.

Demonstrators, Dialogues, Drones and Dialectics

by Sheila Carapico
published in MER269

In 2011 Yemenis shared a vision of revolutionary change with protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria demanding the downfall of cruel, corrupt presidential regimes. Today, like many of their cousins, the peaceful youth (shabab silmiyya) of Yemen face a counter-revolutionary maelstrom from within and without. If Gulf sultans were anxious about insurrection in North Africa, they were even more fearful of subaltern uprisings in their own neighborhood.

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Seeing Through the Fog

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published January 3, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was full of tough talk when he visited the island kingdom of Bahrain in early December.

The United States, he vowed, will continue to guard “the free flow of energy and commerce” from the Persian Gulf and keep Iran nuclear-free, through the presence of 35,000 US military personnel or the (as yet unproven) regional missile defense system.

Hagel also trumpeted the American commitment to “political reform” in the Gulf region. But the Pentagon chief uttered not a word about the hundreds of Bahrainis languishing in prison -- many without adequate medical care -- for demanding the very rights he says they deserve.

Handshakes in Geneva

by The Editors | published November 30, 2013

Everyone is happy with the interim agreement reached with Iran in Geneva on November 23 -- that is, everyone who really wants to defuse the tensions over Iran’s nuclear research program.

Kwitny, Endless Enemies

by Claudia Wright
published in MER133

Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies(New York: Congdon and Weed, 1984).

This book canvasses the record of US government intervention in every corner of the Third World (Europe, Canada and Australia are omitted), and concludes with an essay entitled “On Capitalism, Communism and Freedom.” That's a good many bangs and a whimper.

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Commanding the Center

by Daniel Volman
published in MER125

Although President Jimmy Carter pledged in January 1980 to “use any means necessary, including military force” to ensure “the free movement of Middle Eastern oil” and created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) for intervention in the Third World, the American military presence in the Middle East was still relatively small when President Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981. [1] Over the past three years, the Reagan administration has substantially expanded the size and strength of American military forces surrounding the Middle East.

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US Ready to Intervene in Gulf War

by Joe Stork , Martha Wenger
published in MER125

The current phase of the war between Iran and Iraq has prompted a level of US military intervention in the Gulf region that is new and unprecedented in both qualitative and quantitative terms, and holds the risk of a more direct combat role on Iraq’s behalf. Since early 1983, the stalemate in the war appeared to be working in Iran’s favor. Its greater weight in terms of population and economic resources gave it the edge in a strategy of attrition. Beginning in the fall of 1983, Iraq threatened to counter by attacking Iran’s oil exporting capacity. This campaign finally began in March and April 1984, with missile attacks against oil tankers near Iran’s Kharg island loading facility.

Peck, The Reagan Adminstration and the Palestine Question

published in MER128

Juliana S. Peck, The Reagan Administration and the Palestine Question: The First Thousand Days (Washington, DC: Institute of Palestine Studies, 1984).

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The Reagan Administration in the Middle East

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER128

Under the Reagan administration, the United States has waged “the second Cold War” with particular forcefulness in the Middle East. Washington has moved combat forces into the region repeatedly since 1981: to engage first Libyan warplanes over the Gulf of Sidra, then Lebanese militias and Syrian forces outside Beirut, and most recently Iranian air and naval patrols in the Persian Gulf. These military operations have accompanied political steps that have moved the US away from an emphasis on close relations with “moderate” Arab regimes in favor of closer strategic ties with Israel. From the administration’s perspective, such policies have provided a coherence to American relations with this part of the world that was lacking during the Carter years.

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