Tuesday, June 19, 2012

US rushin' to condemn arms broker for Syria

Russian arms to Syria concern Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday said Russia's shipment of attack helicopters to Syria "will escalate the conflict dramatically."

"We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria," she said at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "We are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."

Clinton said the ever-increasing amount of weapons in Syria raise the likelihood of civil war.

Read more at link above.
Russian arms dealer sends missile defence systems to Syria
A Russian arms dealer has said his company is shipping missile defence systems to Syria that could be used to combat international intervention in the country.

Anatoly Isaykin, the general director of Rosoboronexport, said the advanced defensive missile systems could be used to shoot down planes or sink ships.

The accusation by Hillary Clinton prompted Russia to accuse the US of hypocrisy over military equipment, including jet engines and patrol boats that were sold to Bahrain despite civil unrest in the Arab state.

Russian Defense Giant Receives $377M in U.S. Small Minority-Owned Business Contracts, According to the American Small Business League
Over $375 million in U.S. funds meant for minority-owned small businesses have been awarded to Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-owned arms trading company-- the company currently raising headlines for its role as lead arms supplier to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The U.S. Army awarded the no-bid contracts to Rosoboronexport in May 2011 to supply the Afghan military with 21 Mi-17 helicopters.

Rosoboronexport is Russia's leading international arms dealer but its $377 million Army contracts were originally entered into the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) as awards to a small minority-owned business and are currently labeled as contract awards to a minority-owned business.

In 2008, President Obama promised to end these abuses by issuing the statement, "It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants."

Hey, nothing hypocritical about buying arms from brokers whilst condemning others for the same thing, so long a small business gets a piece of that business.

Senator Blocks Army's Weapons Buyer Over Russian Arms to Syria
Cornyn is leading a Senate effort pressuring the Department of Defense to stop doing business with Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-run arms trader. The Army has a $375 million, no-bid contract with the company to buy 21 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters for Afghanistan's air force that it says only Rosoboronexport can provide.

"The DoD and the Army have refused to look for alternatives, even as Rosoboronexport continues to arm the Assad regime," Cornyn said in an e-mailed statement. "The DoD and the Army must end their practice of handing no-bid contracts to this problematic Russian broker and instead conduct full and open competition for all future Mi-17 procurement."

Billion-Dollar Deal with Russian Firm Sets Off Contracting Alarm
Day by day, Bashar al-Assad's brutal Syrian regime continues to crack down on its own civilian population. So when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia this week of providing attack helicopters to the Syrian government, most Americans were rightly outraged. But how would Americans feel if they knew nearly a billion taxpayer dollars were supporting the Russian arms broker at the center of the controversy? Unfortunately, that may very well be the case.

A major Russian state-owned arms broker, Rosoboronexport, responsible for roughly 80 to 90 percent of the country’s foreign arms sales, is coming under attack from a group of Senators after winning a nearly $1 billion, sole-source contract from the Department of Defense (DoD) in 2011 to provide Afghanistan with non-attack Mi-17 helicopters.

Rosoboronexport previously was sanctioned by the U.S. government from August 2006 through May 2010 for aiding Iran’s nuclear program. Since sanctions were lifted, Rosoboronexport has also provided billions of dollars of lethal aircraft and other weapons to the Syrian government, which may have deployed them in killing thousands of civilians.

While advocacy groups have urged Congress to end DoD’s deal because of the company’s ties to Syria, POGO believes that Rosoboronexport’s arrangement with the Pentagon also raises other concerns. Specifically, is the deal to buy 21 dual-use Mi-17 helicopters for $375 million (with a $500 million option to buy 12 more) in the best interest of the military and the U.S. taxpayer?

There are indications that the U.S. is being overcharged for Mi-17’s, especially given the non-competitive nature of Rosoboronexport’s award. Further, POGO is concerned that Rosoboronexport is not a responsible contractor with adequate standards of integrity and business ethics.

In fact, a Congressional official with knowledge of the matter told POGO that the U.S. government was likely overcharged for the helicopters. Rosoboronexport has charged the U.S. approximately $16.4 million for each Mi-17 helicopter, while Mi-17s from a previous Navy deal with a Huntsville, Alabama company called Defense Technology, Inc. cost only $10.8 million.

Guambat's confused now. Should he feel ripped off by bad procurement practice or indignant over Russians beating the US to the buyers. Or despondent about anyone profiteering in arms.

Bah. Back down in the burrow he goes. Happens every time he sticks his nose out.

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