Ramping up the war business – IOL

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Terry Crawford-Brown

A study just released by Israeli human rights activists details the global trade and use of Israeli armaments and security systems, from 2019 to 2020. Israel now ranks as one of the world’s top arms exporters.

Israel has provided Myanmar’s dictators with military equipment since the 1950s. Only in 2017, when Israeli activists exposed that trade, did it become an embarrassment to the Israeli government. The International Court of Justice in The Hague, in 2020, ordered Myanmar to prevent genocidal violence against the Rohingya minority.

Israel markets its weapons as “battle-tested and proven” on Palestinians. Successive US governments have protected their surrogates by abusing veto powers at the UN Security Council, and in closing their eyes to Israeli and Saudi Arabian human rights atrocities. In addition, Israel annually receives $3.8 billion in US military assistance and technology.

Given the history of the Nazi Holocaust, it is diabolical that the Israeli government and arms industry are actively complicit in genocide in Myanmar and Palestine, plus numerous other countries.

African dictatorships have relied on Israeli military support for decades. Oil deposits in Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan and Western Sahara provide one rationale for Israeli involvement.

Blood diamonds, in Angola, Côte D’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, are another. Over five million people have died in the DRC’s “First World War”, so named because its root cause is the raw materials required by the “first world’s” war business.

Although Israel has no diamond mines, it is the world’s leading cutting and polishing centre. Established during WWII, with South African assistance, the diamond trade is also closely connected to the arms industry and Mossad.

As part of the Israeli arms business, police death squads in Brazil and the US are trained in methods used to suppress Palestinians.

Israeli surveillance equipment was allegedly used by Saudi Arabia to monitor the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and other dissidents. The Saudis have, for 50 years, funded covert destabilisation of resource-rich countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

On the US election campaign trail, Joe Biden condemned Saudi Arabia as a pariah state. Since becoming President, Biden has obviously been briefed about potentially dire consequences for the dollar. He has toned down his criticisms of the Saudis, and come under sharp disapproval, in the US Congress and media, for back-pedalling on his campaign commitments regarding Khashoggi.

As a war-hawk throughout his Senate career, Biden is ramping up tensions with Russia and China. Although it accounts for less than 1% of world trade, the war business is estimated to account for 40 to 45% of global corruption. Arms trade corruption goes right-to-the-top. It includes not only the British royal family, but also almost every member of the US Congress.

President Dwight Eisenhower, in 1961, warned about the consequences of what he termed “the military industrial-congressional complex”. Under pretensions of “keeping America safe”, trillions of dollars have been spent on useless weapons. Yet the US has lost every war it has fought since WWII. Afghanistan has once again confirmed its historic reputation as “the graveyard of empires”.

That seemingly hasn’t mattered, as long as the money flowed to arms contractors, banks and oil companies, and kickbacks to politicians. OPEC oil has been priced only in dollars since the Yom Kippur War, in 1973. Under an agreement negotiated by Henry Kissinger, the Saudi oil standard replaced the gold standard.

Provisions include US and British guarantees to the Saudi royal family against domestic insurrection, and that OPEC oil must be priced only in dollars. With Saudi oil backing the dollar, the rest of the world is obliged to fund the US banking system and economy through balance of payments deficits. This includes the costs of about 1000 US bases around the globe, their purpose being to ensure that the US can maintain its military and financial hegemony.

Eisenhower’s warnings are now being vindicated. The US is facing bankruptcy. It is no longer the main buyer of Saudi or Middle East oil. It has been replaced by China, which also is America’s largest creditor. Just how long before China “pulls the plug” on the dollar?

Gold and oil prices used to be the barometer by which international conflicts were measured. The gold price is stagnant and the oil price is also relatively weak. The Saudi economy is in severe crisis because of the disastrous war in Yemen. By contrast, the price of bitcoins rocketed to over $58 000 on February 20.

The end of the US Empire will be a “game-changer” around the world. Consequences may include not only the end of the Zionist state, but also that Iran will become the dominant power in the Middle East.

* Terry Crawford-Browne is the author of “Eye on the Money” (2007), “Eye on the Diamonds” (2012) and “Eye on the Gold” (2020), and is the country coordinator in South Africa for World Beyond War, a global movement to end all wars.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media and IOL.

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