The U.S. government quietly green-lighted a $77 million deal to provide at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to Moammar Gadhafi's army, approving a license that signaled growing American business contacts with his regime in the months before Libya imploded in civil war.Should have been a red flag, but obviously wasn't. Obama should feel fortunate it never went through. It wouldn't look too good is Khadafy's goons were gunning down civilians using American military equipment.
Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE. The congressional concerns effectively stalled the deal until the turmoil in the country scuttled the sale.
As all military exports to the regime were suspended last week and President Barack Obama told Gadhafi he should step down, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls informed Congress that the troop transport deal had been returned without action — effectively off the table, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the deal's sensitive details.
State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said the proposed license was suspended along with the rest of ''what limited defense trade we had with Libya.''
The Gadhafi regime's desire to upgrade its troop carriers was so intense that a Libyan official told U.S. diplomats in Tripoli in 2009 that the dictator's sons, Khamis and Saif, both were demanding swift action. Khamis, a commander whose army brigade reportedly attacked the opposition-held town of Zawiya with armored units and pickup trucks, expressed a ''personal interest'' in modernizing the armored transports, according to a December 2009 diplomatic message disclosed by WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website.
The administration's own interest in the deal amounted to a first cautious step toward allowing a major arms purchase by Gadhafi's regime even as U.S. officials waved off other Libyan approaches for weapons systems and military aid.
Toner said senior diplomats had repeatedly warned the Gadhafi regime that ''we would not discuss the possibility of lethal U.S. arms sales until Libya made significant progress on human rights issues, visas and other areas of bilateral relationship.''
The old M113 troop transports are typically outfitted with a single machine gun. U.S. officials said the now-scuttled deal would not have added new cannons or other guns because of strict rules that all defense sales to Libya had to be ''non-lethal'' defense products. But despite the ''non-lethal'' restrictions, some defense industry experts said the proposal should have never gotten off the ground.
''This deal should have been a red flag,'' said William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. ''Anything that makes troop transports more usable allows them to be applied to offensive purposes, even if you don't add guns.''
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Shhh: Obama Cancels $77 Million Armored Troop Carrier Deal With Libya
Just as warmonger Barack Obama gave the go-ahead to resume military tribunals at Club Gitmo, he quietly reversed field on a planned $77 million sale of armored troop carriers to Libya. What's amazing is the media is even reporting this.
Posted by JammieWearingFool at 7:25 AM