Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Your Taxpayers Dollars At Work--In The Middle East

Newsweek has come out with an article indicating that Pentagon billions are flowing to strongmen in the Middle East:
Officially, the U.S. does not pay other governments for rights to military bases. The logic is straightforward: funneling money to the treasuries of foreign dictators cannot form the foundation of genuine strategic alliances. Yet, to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while staring down the mullahs in Iran, 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 U.S. 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?
Who would ever think that the Gulf states were that hard up for money?

The answer of course is that the US is hard up for influence in the Middle East.

Of course, US funding does not only go to the major regimes in the Middle East. Besides the billions that have been going to Egypt, a lot of US dollars are going to Abbas.

The Hill's Congress blog wonders where are the Palestinians are getting all that money for travelling throughout Europe, drumming up support for recognition of a second Palestinian state:
In late May, Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad complained that the Palestinian Authority was facing a financial crisis, because donor nations were delaying or withholding funds.

This has not been the case with U.S. funds, which reportedly continue to flow. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that Congress has been paying for the Palestinians’ diplomatic end run around Washington.

...The U.S. forks over an estimated $600 million to the Palestinians each year. Has Washington inadvertently allowed some of these taxpayer dollars to be spent in pursuit of a dangerous declaration of Palestinian statehood at the U.N. in September? Congress should find out.
That sounds like a good idea.

Instead of Abbas pressuring the Obama administration with threats to go to the UN in September, maybe the US should be pressuring the Palestinians.

It would be a nice change of pace from pressuring Israel.

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