Saturday, November 07, 2009

US's top arms buyers in 2009

Peace is not realistic without might. Might is the best defence against the agression and threats by foreign power.

Then, it is not expected to read about U.S. government-to-government arms sales rose 4.7 percent to a record $38.1 billion last year, and are expected to total almost as much in 2010!!

It is also not unusual to know that the top buyers in fiscal 2009 were the UAE ($7.9bn), Afghanistan ($5.4bn) and Saudi Arabia ($3.3bn), followed by Taiwan ($3.2bn), Egypt ($2.1bn), Iraq ($1.6bn), NATO ($924.5m), Australia ($818.7m) and South Korea ($716.6m).

With the current situation (beside other problems faced by earthlings, of course, for peace, arms demand is booming, fed in part by regional tensions fanned by nuclear and ballistic missile programs in Iran and North Korea.

In case you have not noticed, 5 muslim nations are amongst the top buyers with accumulated purchase of $20.3 billion.

And that's include Afghanistan and Iraq.

More from the news report:-

In September, for instance, the Pentagon told Congress of a possible sale to Turkey of the most modern model of its Patriot anti-missile missile in a package valued at up to $7.8bn.

The Gulf states and Saudi Arabia are "extremely worried about Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability," Alexander Vershbow, US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told reporters last month.

"They want to buy Patriots or other systems over the coming years. So right now, demand exceeds supply because of the real sense of threat they feel," he said.

Arms deals, often sensitive because of regional politics, may become even more so for the administration of President Barack Obama, who won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize last month.

Some critics say Obama should rein in arms transfers, partly to avoid regional arms races. But overseas sales are increasingly important to US contractors seeking to offset Pentagon belt-tightening at home.

Many if not most of the sales pacts signed in fiscal 2009, which ended Sept. 30, are part of a boom in conventional weapons sales that started under former president George W. Bush.

The 2009 figures represent over a quadrupling from a sales "low point" in fiscal 1998, according to Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The sales are indicative of a drive to strengthen U.S. partners and thus boost U.S. national security, Wieringa said in an Oct. 22 blog posting on his agency's website.

The 2009 tally, revised after that posting, were up from $36.4 billion in fiscal 2008 and $23.3 billion in 2007, said the security agency. It administers the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales program, a key part of U.S. alliance-building.

Sales are expected to top $37.9 billion in fiscal 2010, which began Oct. 1, Vanessa Murray, an agency spokeswoman, said in a written reply to Reuters.

Rachel Stohl, co-author of a new book, The International Arms Trade, said Obama, who took office on Jan. 20, seems to be sticking with "the Bush administration mantra of sell, sell, sell, rather than a more cautious approach."

William Hartung of the New America Foundation, a Washington-based research group focused on U.S. defense and foreign policy issues, said Obama should pay more attention to regional arms-race dangers, human-rights records and shun sales to countries that can ill-afford them.

Top U.S. arms makers such as Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, General Dynamics Corp and Raytheon Co are hoping to boost foreign sales to hedge against U.S. budget pressures that could slow big-ticket Pentagon arms purchases.

Overseas sales lower the unit price of U.S. armed forces' weapons and keep components available that would be otherwise hard to find, said Remy Nathan of the Aerospace Industries Association, which lobbies on behalf of U.S. arms makers.

Other big sales could come from the "best market in decades" for fighter aircraft, with multibillion competitions under way or planned in India, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Greece and elsewhere, said Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group, an aerospace consultancy.

Worldwide arms sales totaled $55.2 billion in calendar 2008, a decrease of 7.6 percent from 2007 and the lowest total since 2005, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said in a September report.

The United States accounted for $37.8 billion of the total on a calendar year basis, or a lopsided 68.4 percent, up sharply from $25.4 billion in 2007, said the report by Richard Grimmett.

Italy ranked a distant second with $3.7 billion in signed weapons deals, or 6.7 percent of the total, up from $1.2 billion in 2007, the study showed, followed by Russia with contracts valued at $3.5 billion, down from $10.8 billion in 2007. (Reuters)

Mosque visit by non-Muslim and Conversion to Islam through Cell Phone Hotline service.

Jais director Datuk Mohamed Khusrin Munawi told Utusan Malaysia that non-Muslims cannot enter mosques as "they are like women with menstruation" after an alleged ceramah by Selangor executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar in a Klang mosque.

I would like to reserve my comment, however, news on people converted to Islam through cell phone service and mosque visit program by Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Dubai which has attracted a lot of non-Muslims to participate.

JAIS or JAKIM or other state Islamic agencies in malaysia may have similar programs.

Around 5,480 people convert to Islam through mobile hotline

Middle East News

Nov 5, 2009, 10:36 GMT

Riyadh - Around 5,480 people converted to Islam in Saudi Arabia through the 'Bring me to Islam' cell phone hotline service, media reports said on Thursday.

The service, provided in 12 languages, was launched to raise awareness among foreign communities in the kingdom, the Saudi daily Okaz reported.

Any person can suggest names of non-Muslims he thinks they might convert to Islam through text messages to the hotline, along with their numbers and the language they speak.

Later, preachers would call these non-Muslims and try to introduce them to Islam, without revealing the number of the person who suggested their names.

Preachers would call again if the person showed a desire to continue receiving these phone calls, Okaz said, adding that around 800,000 phone calls were made, costing 120,000 Saudi Riyals (32,000 dollars).

Venue : Jumeirah Mosque
Timing : Every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday at 10:00am
No booking required, just register outside the Mosque prior to the visit. Private and evening tours can be arranged. Contact SMCCU for details. Private visits can be conducted in other languages with prior notice.
The meeting point is outside the Mosque, opposite to The One furniture showroom.

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding designed this programme to increase awareness and understanding between various nationalities living and visiting the Emirates.

The mosque tour takes one hour and a quarter, and visitors are invited to discover more about the life and religion of the Emirates by asking as many questions as possible.

It is in fact a beautiful experience, informative yet spiritual. This is the only mosque in the U.A.E., which is open to non-Muslims, although a dedicated guide of the SMCCU must accompany visitors. Appropriate dress code is required.

Over the past ten years Jumeirah Mosque has become renown to the public as the learning centre and focal point of the Open Doors. Open Minds. programme
(Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding).

The level of participation in this activity has increased from an average of 50 visitors to up to 450 visitors in a single visit!

There are some regulations for entering the mosque and we do appreciate your cooperation :

  • Kindly do not enter the mosque unless accompanied by registered guide from Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
  • Tour companies must not enter the mosque unless accompanied by a registered guide from Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
  • Conservative dress for both men and ladies is essential; loose trousers, or long skirts, long sleeves, and a head scarf for ladies. Long shorts for men are acceptable.
  • Please do not touch books displayed on shelves inside the mosque.
  • Please remove shoes before entering the mosque.
  • Kindly no children under the age of 5 years, to avoid disturbing our other guests
  • Professional photographers, reporters and T.V crews must contact the centre prior to any visit to the Mosque.
  • Do not forget your camera! You are welcome to take photographs

The open question & answer session allows our guests to ask any questions relating to Islam and the culture without feeling afraid that they might offend.

* For private visits please contact (SMCCU)