US Weapons Sales To Mideast Surge With Trump Admin. De-emphasis On Soft Power - Report

US Weapons Sales to Mideast Surge With Trump Admin. De-emphasis on Soft Power - Report

A shift in US emphasis from diplomacy to military threats and conflict during the Trump administration has led to an explosion of international arms sales in the Middle East and North Africa and helped solidify America's position as the world's No. 1 arms merchant, the Soufan Group said in a report on Tuesday

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th April, 2019) A shift in US emphasis from diplomacy to military threats and conflict during the Trump administration has led to an explosion of international arms sales in the middle East and North Africa and helped solidify America's position as the world's No. 1 arms merchant, the Soufan Group said in a report on Tuesday.

"Under the Trump administration, the US has unquestionably downgraded the importance of 'soft power' and diplomacy with respect to support for international treaties and organizations, international human rights, and the promotion of freedom and democracy," the report said. "Washington is simultaneously solidifying its position as the leading global arms dealer."

The US now accounts for more than a third of global arms sales (36 percent), followed by Russia, France, Germany and China, with the Middle East and North Africa region the top market, the report said, using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has become the largest weapons buyer, with arms imports nearly doubling from a four-year period ending in 2013 to the four-year period ending in 2018, the report added.

"These weapons are used to continue Riyadh's disastrous war in Yemen," the report noted. In addition, Saudi weapons purchases are expected to increase as the desert kingdom seeks to build a military capable of countering Iranian influence.

The report was also critical of the US for selling arms to authoritarian regimes with little respect for human rights, citing Saudi Arabia and Egypt - the world's No. 3 leading weapons importer - as leading customers.

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