Iran deal to lead to regional arms race, boon for defense industry

As the P5+1 group try and come to an agreement with Iran over its rogue nuclear program, leading defense manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing -among others- are anticipating a surge in sales as the U.S. offers sweetened and subsidized concessions to regional allies worried about an emboldened Iran flush with cash.

The administration and Congress in May approved a $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel that analysts said probably was meant to offset Israeli objections to an Iran nuclear agreement. The sale included 3,000 Hellfire anti-armor missiles, 250 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, and 50 BLU-113 “bunker-buster” bombs.

It might seem counter intuitive to flood the region, currently embroiled in conflicts in Yemen, Iraq and Syria and much of it enabled with the proliferation of arms left behind or sold by the U.S., but this is how diplomacy has been conducted by the U.S. for a very long time. Pacifying the concerns of our allies by giving the latest military goodies is just one part of a multi-pronged approach in “demonstrating a commitment” to peace while providing the implements of war.

Take for example the topic of bunker-buster bombs. The Bush Administration provided enough bunker-busters to Israel as was considered sufficient for a strike on the known Iranian nuclear facilities. Why would they need more of them? Ask the Palestinians, or the U.N.

Congress already has approved billions of dollars in pending arms contracts to the Gulf. The United Arab Emirates has one valued at $130 million for 1,100 laser-guided bombs, parts and logistics from Boeing and Raytheon. Another potential contract for as much as $900 million is pending for the sale of 12 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers and 100 rockets made by Lockheed.

Kausner said these pending sales “demonstrate an enduring U.S. commitment to the security of the region” that involves “robust military relationships.”

The Saudi government may pursue a contract for as much as $1.9 billion in potential sales of 10 United Technologies Corp. Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters, radar and spare parts; another potential contract valued at as much as $1.75 billion is pending for as many as 202 Lockheed PAC-3 missiles and associated equipment.

[Bloomberg]