David Axe checks in on international arms sales to Iran's neighbors:
[R]egional worries over Iran have propelled a lucrative arms market, dominated by U.S. defense firms. While most countries cut back their military spending, due to the global recession, many of Iran’s neighbors are continuing years-long shopping sprees for high-tech arms, apparently aimed at building an iron wall around Iran. Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE account for the majority of sales, projected to total $70 billion, this year. The bulk of the sales are for fighter jets and missile defenses.
The U.S. is careful not to single out Iran as the major factor in weapons sales. “This is about building a more secure world,” said Bruce Lemkin, a U.S. Air Force official who oversees many arms deals. But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was less circumspect, when he told his political part that “the Persians are trying to devour the Arab states.” Forecast International is equally forthright, citing “worries over Iran” as the major driver of military investment by the Arab states and Israel.
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