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February 23, 2011

David Cameron –- Escorting Arms Dealers to Huge Mid-East Defense Expo –- Drops By Tahrir Square


Yeah, how’s that for a title? Only slightly obscured by the palm trees and the olive branches, here are a few choice photos laying out the blatant hypocricy of the West when it comes to the arming of Middle Eastern dictators and autocratic regimes — on sale now!  

Here’s the sequence:

photo 1.  British Prime Minister David Cameron drops by Tahrir Square as part of an arms sales junket to the Middle East with executives of Britian’s eight most prominent arms and aerospace companies, including BAE Systems. (Just wait. BAE comes into the picture just below.)

photo 2. British Defense Minister Gerald Howarth goes on ahead to IDEX, the huge international arms bizarre (whoops, bazaar) that opened in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, with 50 British arms companies in tow.  The biannual expo hosts over a thousand exhibitors and the UAE writes about $5 billion in sales at the show alone.  English aerospace, defense and security companies did $2.85 billion in trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council member states in 2008. (In the photo, Howarth is surrounded by the UAE’s top military and police brass.)

3.  A couple of photos from the last IDEX expo, in ‘09. Here we see German salesmen peddling rifles.

4.  And last but not least, the pride of BAE’s booth.  Yeah, that’s a Howitzer.

Also see Foreign Policy IDEX slideshow from ‘09 (featuring photos from Magnum, several, I believe, by Martin Parr).

(photo 1: Tim Ireland/AP. caption: British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, walks in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Cameron arrived in Cairo Monday to meet with top Egyptian officials and “make sure this really is a genuine transition” to civilian rule. photo 2: WAM. caption: From left: Major General Eisa Saif Mohammad Al Mazroui, Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces; Gerald Howarth, Minister for International Security Strategy of Great Britain; Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser for the UAE and Vice-Chairman of the Executive Council, Lt. General Hamad Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, and Staff Major-General Obaid Al Ketbi, Deputy Director-General of Abu Dhabi Police, at the Gulf Defence Conference, the official Idex 2011 conference, in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. photo 3 & 4: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images. caption 3: A German employee shows a German made RS8 rifle to Emirati visitors on the opening day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi on February 22, 2009. The Middle East’s biggest arms show opened in Abu Dhabi, covering a larger area than ever in defiance of the global credit crisis that has hit the weapons-buying power of Gulf states. Nearly 900 exhibitors from 50 countries are taking part in the five-day event which is half as big again as the last time it was held, in 2007. caption 4: An Arab man walks past an M777 A2 lightweight 155mm Howitzer on the opening day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi on February 22, 2009. The Middle East’s biggest arms show opened in Abu Dhabi, covering a larger area than ever in defiance of the global credit crisis that has hit the weapons-buying power of Gulf states. Nearly 900 exhibitors from 50 countries are taking part in the five-day event which is half as big again as the last time it was held, in 2007.)

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