Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Penny for the Potentate

Of considerable interest:

"Officially, the US does not pay other governments for rights to military bases. The logic is straightforward: funneling money into the treasuries of foreign dictators cannot form the foundation of genuine strategic alliances. Yet, to fight wars in Iraq and Afghnistan... over the last decade the Pentagon has come to rely in an unprecedented way on a web of bases across the Middle East. And a NEWSWEEK investigation of Pentagon contracting practices in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Bahrain has uncovered more than $14 billion paid mostly in sole-source contracts to companies controlled by ruling families across the Persian Gulf. The revelation raises a fundamental question: are US taxpayer dollars enriching the ruling potentates of friendly regimes just as the youthful protesters and the Arab Spring have brought a new push for democracy across the region?

"Take a look at Abu Dhabi. The wealthiest of the United Arab Emirates, it hosts a US Air Force at Al Dhafra, which is a vital refueling hub in the region. As is the case in most Gulf states, Abu Dhabi is ruled by a single family that dominates both government and business. Here it is the Nahyan family, and the emir... is worth $15 billion, and controls the country's national oil company, ADNOC. As it turns out, every drop of fuel that America buys for its planes at Al Dhafra... costing $5.2 billion since 2005 - is purchased from the Al Nahyan-controlled ADNOC. Yet, according to contract documents, that money has bypassed the competitive bidding process that is supposed to accompany any purchase - of firearms, flak jackets, or fuel - by the Pentagon." (Welfare for dictators, Aram Roston,, 26/6/11)

Virtually ignored by the ms media in this country, Australia, thanks to former prime minister Kevin Rudd, now has a military base in another of the Emirates, Dubai (See my posts Say It Isn't So (2/4/09) & Billabong Flats (12/11/09)).

The UAE, of course, hasn't a democratic bone in its body, even contributing troops to the Saudi intervention in Bahrain to prop up the brutally repressive Khalifa dynasty there.

The question arises, are we too making direct deposits in the deep pockets of the ruler of Dubai, and Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum? And how much?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and this: