GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has been challenged over the veracity of her claims since she entered the presidential race. On Thursday, Fiorina claimed that the U.S. does not provide “any” military hardware to its allies in the Middle East.
An April story in the New York Times indicates otherwise. The story, written by reporters Mark Mazzietti and Helene Cooper, points out that the arms trade between U.S. contractors and Middle East allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is booming — so much so that officials fear it is fueling a dangerous arms race in the region.
“Last week, defense industry officials told Congress that they were expecting within days a request from Arab allies fighting the Islamic State — Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt — to buy thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons, replenishing an arsenal that has been depleted over the past year,” the Times reports.
The U.S. has traditionally restricted the types of weapons it exports to its Arab allies in an effort to help Israel maintain its military edge.
“But because Israel and the Arab states are now in a de facto alliance against Iran, the Obama administration has been far more willing to allow the sale of advanced weapons in the Persian Gulf, with few public objections from Israel,” the Times reports.
During the debate, Fiorina listed a series of U.S. allies in the Middle East and said she “knows virtually all” of their leaders.
“They have asked us for very specific kinds of support,” Fiorina said. “Bombs, materiel, arms, intelligence. We are not providing any of it today. I will provide all of it.”
According to the Guardian, countries considered U.S. allies in the Middle East are indeed demanding weapons — but it’s not because they are not getting them. It’s because they are using them. Saudi Arabia has become the world’s largest weapon importer and fourth largest military spender.
In the past, the militaries of gulf nations have largely been “a combination of something between symbols of deterrence and national flying clubs,” Richard L. Aboulafia, a defense analyst at the Teal Group, told the Times. “Now they’re suddenly being used.”
Watch Fiorina’s claims during the debate, as posted, here: