Adonis Diaries

Victim’s parents halted execution of the murderer…

Convict had noose around his neck when victim’s mother approached, slapped him in the face and spared his life
Received this link from Stephanie de Geryes on FB
 published in The Guardian this April 16, 2014
Balal execution

The noose is removed from around the neck of Balal. Photograph: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Minutes earlier, crowds had watched as guards pushed him towards the gallows for another public execution in the Islamic republic of Iran.

Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran.

In a literal application of qisas (punishment)the sharia law of retribution, the victim’s family were to participate in Balal’s punishment by pushing the chair on which he stood.

But what happened next marked a rarity in public executions in Iran, which puts more people to death than any other country apart from China.

The victim’s mother approached, slapped the convict in the face and then decided to forgive her son’s killer. The victim’s father removed the noose and Balal’s life was spared.

Balal hanging 

Mother of victim slaps Balal.

Photographs taken by Arash Khamooshi, of the semi-official Isna news agency, show what followed. Balal’s mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed.

The two women sobbed in each other’s arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had been saved.

The action by Hosseinzadeh’s mother was all the more extraordinary as it emerged that this was not the first son she had lost. Her younger child Amirhossein was killed in a motorbike accident at the age of 11.

“My 18-year-old son Abdollah was taking a stroll in the bazaar with his friends when Balal shoved him,” said the victim’s father, Abdolghani Hosseinzadeh, according to Isna. “Abdollah was offended and kicked him but at this time the murderer took an ordinary kitchen knife out of his socks.”

Iran execution 

Balal’s mother, left and Hosseinzadeh’s mother embrace after the execution was halted. Photograph: Arash Khamooshi/Isna. 

Hosseinzadeh Sr has come to the conclusion that Balal did not kill his son deliberately.

“Balal was inexperienced and didn’t know how to handle a knife. He was naive.”

According to the father, Balal escaped the scene of the stabbing but was later arrested by the police. It took 6 years for a court to hand down a death sentence, and the victim’s family deferred the execution a number of times.

A date for execution was set just before the Persian new year, Nowruz, but the victim’s family did not approve of the timing.

Hosseinzadeh said a dream prompted the change of heart. “Three days ago my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate … This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution.”

Many Iranian public figures, including the popular TV sport presenter Adel Ferdosipour, had called on the couple, who have a daughter, to forgive the killer. Although they did so, Balal will not necessarily be freed. Under Iranian law the victim’s family have a say only in the act of execution, not any jail sentence.

Balal hanging chair 

The chair on the gallows. Photograph: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

In recent years Iran has faced criticism from human rights activists for its high rate of executions. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, accused Hassan Rouhani of doing too little to improve Iran’s human rights, especially reining in its staggering use of capital punishment.

As of last week, 199 executions are believed to have been carried out in Iran this year, according to Amnesty, a rate of almost two a day. Last year Iran and Iraq were responsible for two-thirds of the world’s executions, excluding China.

At least 369 executions were officially acknowledged by the Iranian authorities in 2013, but Amnesty said hundreds more people were put to death in secret, taking the actual number close to 700.

Iran is particularly criticised for its public executions, which have attracted children among the crowds in the past. Iranian photographers are often allowed to document them.

Bahareh Davis, of Amnesty International, welcomed the news that Balal had been spared death. “It is of course welcome news that the family of the victim have spared this young man’s life,” she said. “However, qisas regulations in Iran mean that people who are sentenced to death under this system of punishment are effectively prevented from seeking a pardon or commutation of their sentences from the authorities – contrary to Iran’s international obligations.”

She added: “It’s deeply disturbing that the death penalty continues to be seen as a solution to crime in Iran. Not only is the death penalty the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment with no special deterrent impact, but public displays of killing also perpetuate a culture of acceptance of violence.

“Public executions are degrading and incompatible with human dignity of those executed. In addition, all those who watch public executions – which regrettably often includes children – are brutalised by the experience.”

In October last year an Iranian prisoner who survived an attempted execution and was revived in the morgue was spared another attempt, though his family said he had lost mental stability and remained in jail.

How many of these skills are “life sustaining talents”?

  1. Check off all you can do…
    1. 1I can sew.
    2. 2I can tie a man’s tie.
    3. 3I can make a meal without a recipe.
    4. 4I can build a fire.
    5. 5I can bandage a wound.
    6. 6I can navigate with an IRL map (NOT Google Maps).
    7. 7I can measure a piece of furniture to know if it fits in a space.
    8. 8I can change a tire.
    9. 9I know how to check oil in a car.
    10. 10I know the proper way to fold a fitted sheet.
    11. 11I know how to do laundry.
    12. 12I know how to iron a shirt.
    13. 13I know how to stop a toilet from overflowing.
    14. 14I know how to set up a wireless network.
    15. 15I know how to use Excel.
    16. 16I can create a basic website/blog.
    17. 17I know how to craft a résumé.
    18. 18I know how to cook eggs at least three different ways.
    19. 19I know how to use chopsticks.
    20. 20I know CPR.
    21. 21I know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
    22. 22I know how to calculate a tip.
    23. 23I can do a push-up.
    24. 24I can swim.
    25. 25I can drive.
    26. 26I can ride a bike.
    27. 27I can do basic math in my head.
    28. 28I can do long division on paper.
    29. 29I can keep a plant alive.
    30. 30I can make pasta without under- or overcooking it.
    31. 31I can tie a proper knot.
    32. 32I can open a champagne bottle.
    33. 33I can drive a stick shift.
    34. 34I can use both a Mac and PC.
    35. 35I can parallel park.
    36. 36I know when fruits and vegetables are ripe.
    37. 37I can assemble Ikea furniture by myself.
    38. 38I know what to do if you spill red wine on carpet.
    39. 39I know what to do to remove blood stains.
    40. 40I know how to jump-start a car.
    41. 41I know how to read and understand nutrition labels.
    42. 42I know what to do if I get in a car accident.
    43. 43I know how to budget. (Well, doesn’t mean you actually FOLLOW it, but you get how to…)
    44. 44I can write letters with few spelling and grammar errors.
    45. 45I can bargain at a flea market.
    46. 46I can carve a turkey or chicken.
    47. 47I know how to operate a fire extinguisher.
    48. 48I can use a sewing machine.
    49. 49I can successfully bake a cake with a recipe.
    50. 50I know how to properly set a table.
    51. 51I can adjust my Facebook privacy settings with ease.
    52. 52I know how to treat a bee sting.
    53. 53I understand what goes in the recycling versus trash.
    54. 54I know how how make a soft-, medium-, and hard-boiled egg.
    55. 55I know how to back up my information.
    56. 56I know how to update my phone.
    57. 57I understand how to manage/store my music and photos.
    58. 58I know how to use an electric drill.
    59. 59I know how to hang a picture.
    60. 60I can install something — like a shelf or curtain hooks — into the wall.
    61. 61I can braid hair.
    62. 62I can throw a football.
    63. 63I can set up a barbecue fire.
    64. 64I can cook meat to a desired level (rare, well-done, etc).
    65. 65I know how to make a mixed drink.
    66. 66I can do my taxes.
    67. 67I can change a diaper.
    68. 68I understand how to throw a punch.
    69. 69I can actually throw a punch.
    70. 70I can negotiate a raise.
    71. 71I can figure out which direction points north without a compass.
    72. 72I can navigate the subway without having to ask for help.
    73. 73I know how to send someone a large file.
    74. 74I know how to use Twitter.
    75. 75I understand what a 401(k) is.
    76. 76I understand how the stock market works.
    77. 77I understand the terms of my health insurance program.
    78. 78I know what an abnormal mole might look like.
    79. 79I can change a lightbulb.
    80. 80I can read a text and recall the most important details.
    81. 81I can do an pretty decent dive into a pool.
    82. 82I can ski.
    83. 83I can recognize (but not necessarily speak) languages like Spanish, French, German, and Italian.
    84. 84I know how to clean the filters in my vacuum.
    85. 85I can replace a vacuum belt.
    86. 86I know how to paint a room.
    87. 87If named a state in the U.S., I could describe where it is.
    88. 88If named a country in Europe, I could describe where it is.
    89. 89I could draw a basic map of the world.
    90. 90I know how to play sudoku.
    91. 91I know how to polish silver.
    92. 92I know how to eat a lobster.
    93. 93I can fix a leaky faucet.
    94. 94I know how to use the internet — beyond Google — for finding things.
    95. 95I am good at finding exactly what I’m looking for online.
    96. 96I can wrap a gift (and it won’t look like someone with no fingers wrapped it).
    97. 97I have been able to get around in a foreign country by myself with ease.
    98. 98I can remove a splinter.
    99. 99I know how to properly clean (the exterior) of my computer and electronic devices.
    100. 100I understand how a mortgage works.

Note: It appears that women acquire far more talents to survive on their own than men. How many skills do you think a normal man could accumulate on average?

French assassins trained by British secret services since 1942…

From 1952 to 1962, during the independence movements of the various French colonies around the world, the French secret services SDECE assassinated over 200 political leaders and arms dealers.

The oversea French Empire stretched from East Asia (Viet Nam, Cambodia), Western Africa, Central Africa (of Omar Bango), North Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Polynasian Islands, Latin America…

Winston Churchill ordered the British secret services in 1942 (during WWII) to train French assassins from the Corsica and Sicilian mafias and gangs and expedite them to eliminate German spies and French leaders who were pro the Vichy government.

Amiral Darlan was assassinated in Dec. 1942 by Fernand Bonnier de la Chapelle because Churchill disapproved of Roosevelt’s option of selecting Darlan as President of France after the war ends.

The Maghreb States of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia suffered the most from the terror tactics and inhuman torture methods of the French assassins hired from among the mafias and gangs.

A few of the victims are: Omar Drissi, Ahmed Slaoui, Baby Berrada, Tahar Sebti, Farhat Hached, Ben Barka

A few of the assassins are: Tony (Antoine Melero in “The Red Hand”), Colonel Paul Paillole in “Services speciaux”, Emile Buisson, Abel Danos, Louis Raggio, Joe Renucci, Mathieu Zampa, Meme Guerini, Robert Arthur Blemant, George Thierry d’Argenlieu, Dolan, Marcel Le Roy Finville, Jacques Abtey, Marco Calvert, Gaston Boue-Lahorgue, Marcel Hongrois, Jose Salord, Alexandre Tislenkoff, Christian David, Francois Marcantoni, Ange Simonpierri, Marcel Francisci, Dominique Ventura, Jo Attia of the Lepie Street gang, Henry Fille-Lambie (alias Morlane or Capt. Fillette), Bob Maloubier

Michael Foot in “SOE in France” mentioned the meeting of the circle “Murder Incorporation” in Marseilles in 1952. The CIA representative Irving Brown, Lucky Luciano, Robert Arthur Blemant, representatives of the clans Orsini, Gurrini, Renucci, and Calenzana… met and decided on a grand plan of murder activities.

The long-term objective of this circle was to “free” the major ports in the Mediterranean Sea from the hold of the “leftist” and communist syndicates by murdering and dispersing the leaders of these syndicates.

This was the beginning of what will be called “The French Connection” for trafficking opium, heroine and cocaine all over the world, and particularly to NYC and Miami.

In Viet Nam, the French reopened the opium usage, traffic and cultivation in order to finance the costly illegal activities. The French authority and troops cooperated with the Binh Xuyen pirates to dominate the distribution of opium in Saigon and to export the surpluses to Marseilles. General Salan was commander in Saigon and was an addicted opium user, several times a day.

In Algeria, the rebel French army formed the OAS under the leadership of Challe, Susini, Degueldre, Salan, Jouhaud… in order to oppose de Gaulle decision to give Algeria its independence.

In March 1962, street to street battles in the Capital Algeria confronted French soldiers from both sides, loyalist and rebel forces, a war that generated 60 killed and 200 injured.

The French secret services Service Action, headed by Foccart, dispatched its assassins and killed many of the rebel army leaders.

In May 1962, a cease fire with the Algerian independent factions was signed, a deal that was to retain a temporary French troops for 3 years in order to achieve “smooth” transition for the repatriation of the Pieds Noirs (French who colonized Algeria since the mid of the 19th century) and the Harkis (Algerian soldiers within the French troops).

The smooth deal never materialized and 400,000 French Pieds Noirs “citizens”, who never set foot in France, had to transfer within 3 months and relocate in their “homeland”. This war of independence lasted 7 years and the toll was over 500,000 Algerian killed along with 35,000 French troops and cooperators.

Mind you that in 1962, France of de Gaulle started its open air nuclear testing in Algeria. The indigenous people were not warned of what’s happening and even the French soldiers were not briefed of the danger of exposure to contamination.  The documentary showed French soldiers in shorts and short sleeves after the nuclear explosion.

Soldiers are the vast pool of citizens to be abused of and sacrificed for the sake of the Emperor, and they were not told of the danger in order not to frighten the other groups who will be dispatched for the over 160 nuclear tests conducted within the decade. And the government never acknowledged that their ailments were caused by the nuclear radio-activities.

In the French Polynesian Islands, entire islands exploded and the neighboring indigenous people were not warned of the nuclear explosion and left to die in the days and months later. No treatment or care were invested on these people who chanted the Marseillaise whole heatedly when French personalities visited the islands.

Mind you that it was France that dotted Israel with its nuclear plant in the 60′s and armed Israel with all kinds of weapons.

Most of the French politicians supported the activities of these  assassin and waited anxiously the results, politicians such as Guy Mollet, Mendes France, Mitterand, Chaban-Delmas, Jules Moch, Michel Debre

Note: Information from part of this post was taken from the French book “The cleaners: spies, rascals, crooks… at the service of the French government” by David Defendi

Moments of wakefulness, consciousness and conscious awakening

You might think that “wakefulness” and “consciousness” can be confounded as meaning the same.  However, after the brain is injured, the two can be dissociated.

Not being comatose is not the same as feeling aware of your environment.

garyharstein posted this April 4, 2014 (selected as one of the top posts)

A superb day.

Sabine has told us two incredibly important things (about the status of Michael in the hospital), things that not only inform us as to where we are, but open up rather more optimistic possibilities than some of the darker options we’ve considered until now, based on not knowing.

I want to repeat, because it’s important to fully understand what will follow, that while “wakefulness” and “consciousness” usually are pretty much one and the same, after the brain is injured, the two can be dissociated. What do I mean?

Assuming that the terms are being used and translated correctly (and Sabine is a consummate professional and wouldn’t get this wrong), awakening refers to (at least) the appearance of . . . being awake. Basically that means eyes open. And as I mentioned before, this eye opening can even be cyclic, following what looks just like a sleep-wake cycle (even if not synchronised to real day-night hours).

Wakefulness WITHOUT consciousness is the definition of a vegetative state.

The eyes are open, but there’s no interaction with the environment. If Sabine had “only” said that Michael was showing wakefulness, it would mean that he is not comatose. That in itself is a damned sight “better” than persistent coma, not just in terms of life expectancy, but in terms of the chances of neurologic improvement.

But Sabine has also told us that Michael is showing signs of consciousness.

My lord, the brain is an amazing organ. And Michael a remarkable man. What does this consciousness probably look like? It consists of episodes of clear, purposeful interaction with the environment, and/or clear signs of awareness of self, even if these signs are not constantly present.

For example, if Michael smiles when a member of his entourage talks to him – reproducibly and consistently on at least a few occasions. Or following people with his eyes. Or trying to communicate, or obeying simple commands. Any of this constitutes objective signs of contact between the “outside” and the “inside”.

This would be a minimally conscious state. And that is about the best news we could possibly get right now. Why?

Because of what it means for everyone – Michael himself, his loved ones, and his fans. It means that Michael may well see, hear, and feel the love that’s around him. That he is, in some very real way, HERE.

It means his life expectancy has now improved VERY significantly. And last, but perhaps most important, it opens up a very real chance for further improvement.

This would mean spending more time “in touch” with his surroundings, and also improvement in the quality of the interaction. How incredibly positive!

This means rehab, lots of rehab.

Michael is used to working hard. Getting that brain to learn new ways of doing things, stimulating it, forcing it to handle data, and all the while working hard to build him up again physically. All very exciting. And very good.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a very important step, but we don’t want Michael to stay like this. But this is a very big step.

We all need to thank the team taking care of Michael as well as the people around him, for their devotion and patience. Everyone is going to need to be patient – for weeks, months, maybe years.

But if you’re even the slightest bit spiritual, it’s time cast a look upwards and mouth the words “thank you”

Resilient stubborn fatalism in rebel held enclaves? Or inability to leave?

Syrians in rebel-held areas have borne near-daily attacks, enduring President Bashar Assad’s military might with a resilience bordering on stubborn fatalism.

The family members stood shivering on a balcony in Aleppo’s Anadan suburb as midnight approached, their sleep interrupted by the nightly duty of a government helicopter pilot somewhere above them.

They followed the sound of the helicopter’s whirring blades as well as scratchy updates coming over a walkie-talkie from rebels spread throughout the area.

News came in that the helicopter had dropped two barrel bombs — oil drums filled with TNT that can level buildings — on nearby towns.

In Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, a kebab vendor works in the midst of a destroyed building. As Syria’s war rages on, Aleppo is a city under gradual demolition, with a shrinking civilian population struggling to survive . More photos

They knew that the helicopters can carry up to four of the bombs. They waited for the last two.

Below them, lights came on in basement bunkers as others sought a small measure of protection.

Khansa Laila walked out onto the balcony cloaked in several layers but still shaking in the nighttime chill.

“I woke up from the sound of the alarm, so I’m still cold,” she said referring to the warning system the town’s residents installed. “Also, fear makes you cold.”

Against a starry sky, a series of red streaks from a 14.5-millimeter machine gun shot upward. But the streaks rose and fell without striking their target, their reach far less than the height of the aircraft.

Eventually the sound of the helicopter grew faint and was replaced by that of a warplane.

“We don’t take the warplanes seriously anymore,” Laila said. “They launch rockets that are precise, but helicopters drop barrel bombs that can destroy dozens of homes with one barrel.”

The family went to sleep that night to the sound of machine-gun fire and the occasional rocket.

For more than 3 months, Aleppo’s opposition-held neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs have been terrorized nearly daily by barrel bombs unleashed from helicopters. The bombs, TNT-filled oil drums that can level buildings, have killed more than 2,000 people, activists estimate.  More photos

Three years into Syria’s conflict, the cacophony of war has become a familiar companion to daily life here in the country’s largest city, the sad soundtrack to its gradual demolition and a shrinking civilian population struggling to survive.

Those still in the city have adjusted to enduring the brunt of President Bashar Assad‘s military might with a resilience that borders on stubborn fatalism.

In a shoe store, a woman tries on a pair of wedge heels and deems them not comfortable enough “to flee” in. A 1-year-old with curly hair and big brown eyes speaks mostly in mumbles, but one word she knows clearly: tabit — it fell.

“A barrel falls and 10 minutes later people return to what they were doing,” said Muhammad, a young man working at a makeshift gas station: 12 oil drums resting on their sides serving six varieties of gasoline.

Hours earlier, a barrel bomb had struck the Sakhour roundabout, hitting three vehicles and killing eight people. With the blood fresh on the pavement, motorists stopped and peered at the carnage.

The next day people walked by without a glance; the destroyed vehicles had become one more addition to the city’s apocalyptic backdrop.

“Every day we see the names of the dead scrolling across the TV screen; they’ve just become numbers,” one man said. “When I was a kid and someone died we mourned for 40 days, the TV could not be turned on. Now someone dies on one side and you turn around and watch a soap opera.”

Since the government’s barrel bomb offensive began in late December, the city and suburbs have traded off bearing the burden of the attacks.

On a recent day in an Aleppo vegetable market, a warplane’s low rumble halted all transactions and conversation.

Unripe almonds and lettuce were momentarily forgotten as everyone turned their faces upward to track the plane by its sound. Drivers slowed down and stuck their heads out the window to look up.

Not until the rumble had faded, leaving only a billowy white trail across the sky, did the people return their attention to the mundane particulars of life. The plane was now the concern of another Aleppo neighborhood.

As he drove away from the market, Saleh Laila said, “If it had been a helicopter, they would watch it till it dropped the barrel, then pandemonium would break out and cars would start driving into each other and people would run, trying to get away.”

A couple of charred and stripped vehicles mark the entrance of rebel-held Aleppo, a fitting welcome to a city that in some parts is a barren urban landscape.

The helicopter attacks day and night, coupled with poundings by warplanes and artillery as well as regular clashes between government and rebel forces, have transformed the once-vibrant commercial hub into one with entire neighborhoods deserted.

More than two-thirds of the city’s population is estimated to have fled north either to Turkey or, for those not allowed passage into the country, along its border in ramshackle refugee tents. Certain suburbs have also seen a large exodus.

A makeshift gas station provides different varieties of fuel.  More photos

As one Aleppo resident said of the city, “There are fighters, activists and shop owners. No one else is left.

Some neighborhoods of Aleppo have only one or two families left.

At the roundabout in one such neighborhood, Muhammad Khair and his father sat in the grassy center and watched as their two dozen goats grazed. They heard rumors that a sniper was shooting people at the field where the goats customarily graze, so when the animals began bleating from hunger they came here.

Two months earlier in this district of dense, unregulated housing, the goats wouldn’t have been able to safely cross the road to get to the grass. Now, Khair said, in the span of 15 minutes, two cars had passed by.

At the scene of twin barrel bombings at a busy market, bodies, or what was left of them, were laid out along a sidewalk, covered with whatever was on hand: a green curtain, a plastic tarp and a banner for Dar al Shifa hospital, which had closed after repeated attacks.

A man, his shirt bloodied and neck bandaged, smoked a cigarette as those around him congratulated him on sustaining only a minor injury: “Thank God for your safety.”

“Don’t gather, don’t gather!” yelled one rebel with a Kalashnikov rifle, warning people that a crowd could invite another attack.

“A plane is coming, a plane is coming!” another rebel shouted while standing atop a traffic barrier, trying a more direct tactic to get the crowd to scatter. People ran away and then a few minutes later drifted back.

When local citizen journalists arrived and began filming, residents breathlessly screamed through a familiar script, praising God and cursing Assad.

Hours later, the broken glass and concrete had been swept and the blood washed away.

Children gathered around an ice cream stand, standing on tip-toes to peer at the available flavors, and men bought produce from a fruit vendor, the color of the oranges bright against the gray of fallen concrete.

Note: The Syrian army and its supporting militias of patriots have reconquered areas containing 16 million of citizens. All the main strategic roads for supplies and linking the main cities have been liberated.

The US trained “rebels” in Jordan are trying to re-enter Jordan, but they are stopped by the Jordanian forces because they don’t want to do with any of these extremist terrorists.

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-c1-syria-aleppo-mood-20140411-dto,0,3916136.htmlstory#ixzz2ygh6CeeQ

 

 

Saudi Arabia is world’s fourth biggest military buyer

WORLD - APRIL 15, 2014

Saudi Arabia generally doesn’t announce military purchases, but multi-billion-dollar orders often facilitated by foreign governments are hard to conceal.

Saudi Arabia’s military spending in 2013 was $67 billion, up 14% from 2012. It jumped to number four on the list of the world’s biggest military spenders, passing France, Japan and the UK, according to an April 14 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Saudi Arabia spends the most on the list as a percentage of GDP by far.

British defense firm BAE Systems announced on Feb. 19 that it had renegotiated a deal to sell 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia. The original 2007 price was 4.4 billion British pounds, but the Saudis requested advanced weaponry and equipment.

The announcement coincided with a visit by Prince Charles, but his spokesman said BAE was not discussed. The deal became controversial when it was revealed that former premier Tony Blair pressured a UK attorney general to drop a fraud inquiry into a past BAE sale to the kingdom for Tornado combat jets.COPYRIGHT 2014 REUTERS

The announcement coincided with a visit by Prince Charles, but his spokesman said BAE was not discussed. The deal became controversial when it was revealed that former premier Tony Blair pressured a UK attorney general to drop a fraud inquiry into a past BAE sale to the kingdom for Tornado combat jets.

Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud visited Pakistan Feb. 15-17 (2014) to meet with military officials. He was expected to sign a security pact. Pakistan has expressed interest in selling its JF-17 Thunder combat jets (pictured), based on the F-16. Both countries deny nuclear arm discussions.

“The whole-of-government approach to export sales gives us a strategic advantage as we pursue international markets.”DANNY DEEP, GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND SYSTEMS – CANADA

U.S. weapons maker General Dynamics Corp. said on Feb. 14 that its Canadian subsidiary signed a 14-year contract for up to $13 billion to build light-armored vehicles for Saudi Arabia, the largest advanced manufacturing export deal in Canadian history. Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast helped lead negotiations.

The Pentagon notified Congress on Dec. 5, 2013, of a sale of 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia worth $900 million. Although the notification said the sale was for Saudi defense, the kingdom has no known land threats. This raised speculation that the weapons were going to Syrian rebels.

In March 2013, Lockheed Martin signed a $253 million maintenance and training program for the kingdom’s F-15 fleet. In Dec. 2011, Saudi Arabia purchased 84 F-15SA fighter jets for $29.4 billion, in a deal that also upgraded its 70 F-15S jets.

“Lockheed Martin also recognizes that Saudi Arabia requires much more than defense and security capabilities. Our diverse portfolio of programs also includes offerings in other areas such as health, cyber-security, air traffic control and energy solutions.”LOCKHEED MARTIN WEBSITE

Lockheed Martin’s Saudi Arabian subsidiary also sells missiles, naval equipment, sniper guns, surveillance equipment, and satellite communications to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has made several purchases from the U.S. for Apache (pictured) and Blackhawk helicopters. The orders have been followed up with upgrades and training. Saudi Arabia signed $75.7 billion worth of U.S. arms transfer agreements from 2004-11, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Saudi weapons purchases have raised red flags because of the kingdom’s poor record on human rights and its support of hardline Islamists.

The militaries of countries that have poor human rights records such as Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain have also received help from Saudi Arabia amid crackdowns.

adonis49

adonis49

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