A Republican senator blasted the Pentagon after it entered into a new helicopter contract with a Russian company [the state-owned Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport] which is supplying the Syrian regime - even as the U.S. moves to arm the Syrian opposition.In July of 2006, a Russian Daily reported that Rosoboronexport had contracted with Iran to modernize 30 Iranian Sukhoi Su-24 bombers that have the capacity to carry tactical nuclear weapons. Subsequently, the Bush administration, in August of 2006, imposed sanctions on Rosoboronexport for a period of two years. In 2008, the Bush administration renewed sanctions on Rosoboronexport after the company contracted once again to sell additional weaponry to Iran, incluing surface-to-air missiles.
The [$572 million] contract was announced Monday with Russian arms firm Rosoboronexport, for [30 Mi-17] military helicopters that will go to Afghan security forces...
"American taxpayers should not be indirectly subsidizing the murder of Syrian civilians," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement.
Cornyn first challenged the Pentagon over a prior contract with Rosoboronexport last year, and was able to successfully pass an amendment in November barring the use of funds for contracts with the company.
But the latest contract used money from the fiscal 2012 budget, which was approved before Cornyn's amendment.
Cornyn said Tuesday that the Obama administration also could get around that amendment by arguing the contract was in the country's national security interests.
"In other words: they want us to believe that we are promoting U.S. security by doing business with a Russian arms dealer that is helping an anti-American, terror-sponsoring dictatorship commit mass atrocities," he said...
A Pentagon official wrote a letter to Cornyn in March 2012 that acknowledged "evidence" that Rosoboronexport's arms "are being used by Syrian forces against Syria's civilian population."...
Rosoboronexport... appears to be Syria's main weapons supplier.
However, in 2010, the Obama administration lifted the sanctions against Rosoboronexport, and, in June of 2011, the administration awarded the company with a $375 million contract to purchase 21 Russian-made MI-17 helicopters for the Afghan air force. And, as I noted earlier, the administration has now entered into a new agreement with the Russian company: a $572 million contract to purchase 30 Mi-17 helicopters for the Afghan security forces.
During a recent press briefing, White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, sharply criticized the Russian government for supplying the "tyrannical" Syrian regime with advanced weaponry. But apparently, the supplying of weapons to the Syrian regime hasn't deterred the Obama administration from doing business with the very same state-owned, Russian company that is supplying these weapons to Syria.
Bottom line: Obama deserves high marks for the way he has managed to reset U.S/Russian relations with his proverbial "Reset Button", thereby enabling the Russians to dictate U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, while at the same time enabling Russia's state-owned, rogue arms dealers to rake in millions upon millions of dollars from the American taxpayers.
An incredible achievement, indeed!