When Bombs Fall, Profits Rise. Obama's Wars Steer Billions to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics
November 12, 2014
President Barack Obama has asked for an additional $3.2 billion to pay for the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The funds will help cover the cost of replacing bombs in the weeks-long US-led air campaign against IS jihadists.
When bombs fall, profits rise for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.
Obama Wants an Additional $3.2 Billion for War Against ISIS
(November 7, 2014) -- President Barack Obama will ask lawmakers Friday for an additional $3.2 billion to pay for the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, including funds to train and arm Baghdad government forces, officials said Thursday.
The funds will help cover the cost of replacing bombs in the weeks-long US-led air campaign against IS jihadists and assistance for Iraqi army troops and Kurdish forces battling the IS on the ground, two defense officials told AFP.
The air war in Syria and Iraq -- which commanders say could last years -- has involved thousands of sorties and hundreds of bombing raids, at a daily cost of $8.3 million, according to the Pentagon.
But independent analysts say the price tag is higher if the full cost of the air operations are taken into account, particularly numerous flights by sophisticated surveillance aircraft.
According to the Pentagon, the air war -- dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve -- cost $580 million as of October 16.
The proposed funding also would pay for the roughly 600 US military advisors who are working with Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Baghdad and Arbil, as well as about 800 other American troops providing security for the US embassy and Baghdad airport.
The request to approve money for the air campaign follows comments by Obama on Wednesday saying he will ask Congress to approve new legal authority for the war. The White House had said previously there was no need for Congress to weigh in on war power authorities.
Both moves will offer Congress a chance to debate the president"war strategy, amid criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum questioning the administration"approach.
The funding request will come as an amendment to the Pentagon"de facto war budget, known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, officials said.
In June, the administration requested $58.6 billion for the war operations budget for the current fiscal year, which began October 1, but since then the United States launched a major air campaign in Iraq on August 8 and in Syria on September 23.
The OCO fund is often described as a "credit card" to cover the cost of wars and is separate from the regular defense "base" budget that is supposed to cover weapons programs, wages and other items not directly associated with fighting wars.
At the current pace of air strikes, the widening war against the IS group will cost more than the 2011 Libya conflict, which came to one billion dollars, and could add up to several billion dollars for one year, experts say.
The rising cost still pales in comparison to the astronomical price tag for the protracted counter-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, which came to trillions of dollars.
Bombs Fall in Syria as Weapons-Makers Profits Soar in the West
Jon Queally / Common Dreams
"The war against Isis is breeding Isis. For every dead Isis member, we are creating three of four more. And if Isis really is the "apocalyptic", "evil", "end-of-the-world" institution we have been told it is... then every increase in profits for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics is creating yet more Isis fighters."
-- Robert Fisk, The Independent
(October 20, 2014) -- According to The Independent's Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, there is only one clear winner in the new war that has now engulfed Syria and Iraq: the world's top weapons manufacturers.
As latest US airstrikes hit targets inside Syria on Sunday, Fisk wrote, "Share prices are soaring in America for those who produce the coalition bombs and missiles and drones and aircraft participating in this latest war which -- for all who are involved (except for the recipients of the bombs and missiles and those they are fighting) -- is Hollywood from start to finish."
In addition to new bombings by US warplanes, and despite public objections by Turkey's government, the US military over the last twenty-four hours has air-dropped machine guns, anti-tank weapons, ammunition, food, and medical supplies to Kurdish fighters inside the Syrian city of Kobani as they continue to fight off an assault by Islamic State (or ISIS) militants.
According to CNN:
The move was partly humanitarian but also aimed at shoring up the Kurdish defenders of Kobani, senior Obama administration officials said -- acknowledging it was a shift in the administration's tactics to date.
"This is a part of the President's larger strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL wherever they are," one official said.
The gear was delivered by three C-130 cargo planes and appeared to have been received on the ground by Kurdish fighters, senior Obama administration officials.
There have been reports that ISIS may have anti-aircraft missiles, but the officials said they had no evidence to back those reports and that the cargo planes flew in unescorted.
Though Kurds in both Turkey and Iraq have been pleading for Turkey to assist those in Kobani, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been consistently opposed, repeating that it views the mostly autonomos Kurdish population in that region of Syria as members or allies of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which -- despite a cease-fire agreement and ongoing peace process -- it views as an enemy.
That may have changed, however, in the aftermath of the US airdrops. As the New York Times reports Monday morning:
Hours after American military aircraft dropped ammunition and small arms to resupply Kurdish fighters in the embattled Syrian town of Kobani, Turkey's foreign minister said Monday that the country would facilitate the movement of Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, to the city to join the fighting.
The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking at a news conference in Ankara, said that his government was "helping the peshmerga cross over to Kobani," an apparent shift from Turkey's previous refusal to allow any military assistance to Kurdish fighters in the town.
The developments reflected escalating international pressure to help Kurdish forces push back Islamic State militants who have been attacking the Kurdish town for more than a month. The battle has become a closely watched test for the Obama administration as it embarks on a war reliant on air power against the militant group in Iraq and Syria. It has also raised tensions across the border in Turkey, where Kurds have accused the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of abandoning the city to the militants.
Critics of both the overall US strategy in the region have pointed out how the fight in Kobani highlights the inherent complexities of the new war in Syria and Iraq that is setting the stage for a much wider, longer and unpredictable conflict.
But according to Fisk, what is really sinister about the current campaign by the US and their allies is the manner in which the profits of the weapon-makers soar, as the region and its people continue to suffer. Quoted at length, Fisk writes:
When the Americans decided to extend their bombing into Syria in September -- to attack President Assad"enemies scarcely a year after they first proposed to bomb President Assad himself -- Raytheon was awarded a $251 million (£156 million) contract to supply the US navy with more Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Agence France-Presse, which does the job that Reuters used to do when it was a real news agency, informed us that on 23 September, American warships fired 47 Tomahawk missiles. Each one costs about $1.4m. And if we spent as promiscuously on Ebola cures, believe me, there would be no more Ebola.
Let us leave out here the political cost of this conflict. After all, the war against Isis is breeding Isis. For every dead Isis member, we are creating three of four more. And if Isis really is the "apocalyptic," "evil," "end-of-the-world" institution we have been told it is -- my words come from the Pentagon and our politicians, of course -- then every increase in profits for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics is creating yet more Isis fighters.
So every drone or F/A-18 fighter-bomber we send is the carrier of a virus, every missile an Ebola germ for the future of the world. Think about that.
Let me give you a real-time quotation from reporter Dan De Luce's dispatch on arms sales for the French news agency.
"The war promises to generate more business not just from US government contracts but other countries in a growing coalition, including European and Arab states. . .
Apart from fighter jets, the air campaign [sic] is expected to boost the appetite for aerial refueling tankers, surveillance aircraft such as the U-2 and P-8 spy planes, and robotic [sic again, folks] drones. . .
Private security contractors, which profited heavily from the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, also are optimistic the conflict will produce new contracts to advise Iraqi troops."
This is obviously outrageous. The same murderous bunch of gunmen we sent to Iraq are going to be let loose to teach our "allies" in Syria -- "moderate" secular militias, of course -- the same vicious tactics they used against civilians in Iraq. And the same missiles are going to be used -- at huge profit, naturally -- on the peoples of the Middle East, Isis or not. Which is why De Luce's report is perhaps the most important of the whole war in the region.
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