Does this look like a jeep to you?
Even on the rugged, back roads of Canada – THAT is NOT a JEEP! Back in 2014, the Harper government shook hands on a $15-billion deal to sell, what Trudeau later referred to as “lightly armed jeeps,” to Saudi Arabia. However, Ken Epps of Project Ploughshares, an anti-war group that tracks arms sales, said the LAV weaponry shows how lethal this Canadian deal really is.
Videos, dated from 2012 and 2015, show Saudi authorities using LAVs (not Canadian-made) against Shia citizens in the “Wahhabi-State of Arabia“.
“Such vehicles, far from simple troop carriers, are capable of major destruction, and given the ongoing deplorable human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, there is great risk that they will be used against civilians opposed to the Saudi government. This is why the new Canadian government should be reconsidering the Saudi contract,” Mr. Epps said.
During the 2015 election campaign, Mr. Trudeau played down the strategic nature of the sale, saying General Dynamics was merely exporting jeeps. Mr. Trudeau went on to characterize the sale as a private contract involving a manufacturing company – omitting Ottawa’s crucial role.
The gun subcontract is at the heart of growing controversy in Belgium, where critics are questioning the wisdom of selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – and citing the CMI-General Dynamics deal.
Many NGO groups are concerned the Saudis will use them to not only crush “dissent” at home, but use them against civilians in Yemen. In which case – would put Canada in violation of its own arms-trading rules – and in light of recent events in Yemen, possibly international law governing export of weapons to countries committing war crimes.
Regardless of worldwide outrage of the reprehensible Saudi war crimes against women and children in Yemen, and innumerable human rights crimes against their own citizens – the Trudeau government has approved the export permits for the lethal vehicles anyway.
And from where I am sitting, it looks as though the Liberals had every intention of giving this Saudi weapons deal the government’s stamp of approval even before they won the election, evident by the vote MP Dion gave before he was given the job of actually signing the export papers – which he did – shortly after the Liberals moved into the Parliament building.
Although the number of vehicles included is blacked-out, according to The Globe and Mail a French municipal official has said the transaction CMI, a subcontractor, is involved with concerns about 700 vehicles.
What do the Saudis get from this deal?
Some information has leaked out in Belgium, where one broadcast journalist called CMI’s work for the Canadian maker of armoured vehicles the “contract of the century” for the firm, which is based in Seraing, Belgium. Local media say it would be worth €3.2-billion ($4.9-billion) and last more than 15 years.
In 2015, CMI announced it had bought a military base in northeastern France to be transformed into a campus to train the Saudis on the LAV weaponry.
The Globe and Mail report continued by saying: CMI, which manufactures turrets and cannons, announced in 2014 that it had signed a large contract with a “Canadian vehicle manufacturer” to supply two gun systems, including a medium-caliber weapon and the Cockerill CT-CV 105 HP, which it advertises as a “high-pressure gun with an advanced autoloader to deliver high lethality at very light weight,” one with the capacity to fire 105-mm shells and a heavy-armour-penetrating missile. CMI did not name the Canadian company.
In France, where CMI’s campus is located, a local municipal official said CMI is doing work for General Dynamics and its armoured vehicle contract with Saudi Arabia. In an interview, Jean-Philippe Vautrin, president of the Communauté de Communes du pays de Commercy, said CMI will start training the Saudis on the turrets and cannons in 2017, using simulators on the campus site but also a nearby artillery range.
He said the Saudis will learn how to operate the wheeled portion of the LAVs on Canadian soil. 
Do the Saudis have the vehicles yet?
General Dynamics is still gathering the materials needed to make the vehicles, but export permits were issued in April, 2016, for an unspecified number of them, according to a secret Global Affairs Canada memo released by the Justice Department.
What could the Saudis possibly need 700 armed tanks for?
Attacks on Saudi civilians – even reasonable doubt that the Saudis would use the LAVs for purposes not stated in their military statement, and if those other purposes include crimes against their own citizens – should have raised red flags under Canada’s weapons export rules – which forbid weapons shipments “unless it can be demonstrated there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population” by the buyer.
And what about the attacks on Yemeni civilians and the use of internationally banned cluster bombs?
Saudi war crimes – go far beyond casting a serious, reasonable doubt – when reliable reports give evidence of 10,000 Yemeni civilians killed in Saudi airstrikes in just over one year, and over half the dead were children; and another 10,000 children have suffered an excruciating death by starvation, due to the Saudi military-enforced block on food, medicine and humanitarian aid, and those numbers rise exponentially every day.
How many DEAD CHILDREN will it take to declare Saudi Royals’ egotistical and violent bombing of Yemeni civilians exactly what it is – a GENOCIDE.
American Weapon Sales.
The U.S. is responsible for nearly 33% of worldwide exports – by far the top arms exporter on the planet – but which countries does the U.S. sell the most weapons to?
Saudi Arabia was the top recipient of American-made arms from 2011-2015, followed closely by the United Arab Emirates, according to research compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which has been analyzing international arms transfers since 1968.
Experts believe the Middle East will remain a top destination for weapons for some time – it currently accounts for about 40% of U.S. arms exports. The American exports include everything from small arms to fighter jet aircraft and tanks, to Patriot Missile batteries.
While most of the top importers use their own money to buy arms from the U.S., the U.S. also provides some countries with grants and loans — separate from the arms sales — to buy defense equipment from American manufacturers, as part of a program called Foreign Military Financing.
The State Department’s 2017 budget request includes approximately $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. In the proposed budget, the top five recipients of American foreign military financing:
- Israel: $3.1 billion
- Egypt: $1.3 billion
- Jordan: $350 million
- Pakistan: $265 million
- Iraq: $150 million
While Israel is supposed to spend this money on U.S. arms, some of that country’s most expensive purchases, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, have yet to be delivered and are therefore not reflected in SIPRI’s statistics.
While the Middle East tops the list, funding for African armies in 2017 will more than double from last year, likely a consequence of increased terrorist activity in places like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria.
If the federal Liberals are loathe to cancel Canada’s controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia, it may have something do with a trend published by Jane’s Defence Weekly.
According to the magazine, Canada has become the world’s second-largest exporter of arms to the Middle East, behind the United States.
The last time Jane’s surveyed arms exports, Canada was in sixth place on Middle East exports, but the country leapfrogged Britain, France, Germany and Russia into second place, with US $2.7 billion in sales in 2015, Jane’s reports.
That comes amid a growing frenzy of military spending by Middle Eastern countries that has made the region the top arms importer and Saudi Arabia the world’s single largest buyer of foreign weapons.
“The combined value of Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab Emirates’] defence imports is more than all of Western Europe’s defence imports combined.
“The U.S., Canada, France and the U.K. are the main exporters of defence equipment to the Middle East and beneficiaries of this spending boom.
“The global defence trade market has never seen an increase as large as the one we saw between 2014 and 2015.”
said Jane’s senior analyst, Ben Moores.
Worldwide, the defense trade reached a record high of US $65 billion in 2015, Jane’s reports. Canada remained the sixth-largest arms exporter, the same rank as in 2015 and up from 10th place in 2013 and 2014.
“The global defence trade market has never seen an increase as large as the one we saw between 2014 and 2015,” Moores said.
The Jane’s report comes amid ongoing controversy about the federal Liberal government’s decision to proceed with a $15-billion defense contract with Saudi Arabia signed by the previous Conservative government in February 2014.
The $15-billion contract for a fleet of armoured vehicles is expected to create 3,000 jobs at General Dynamics Land Systems in southern Ontario. The deal will add at least $1 billion to Canada’s arms exports numbers over the next decade. 
Though polls show that only one-fifth of Canadians back the arms deal — and roughly half oppose it — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in April that honouring the Saudi arms deal is a matter of principle.
“The principle at play here is that Canada’s word needs to mean something in the international community,” Trudeau said at the time.
I bet you are as disheartened as I am to learn that Canada has become the second largest supplier of military goods to the Middle East – mostly from the sordid $15 billion deal to supply Saudi Arabia with light armoured combat vehicles (or LAVs).
In fact, researchers at IHS Jane’s Defence told The Globe and Mail that “Canada has never ranked so highly among all arms-exporting countries.”
How did this happen?
How did Canada get mixed up in the dark underbelly of the global arms industry, sending billions of dollars’ worth of light armoured vehicles to the despots in Saudi Arabia?
Armoured vehicles, made right here in Canada and shipped under an earlier contract, were used to suppress peaceful pro-democracy protesters in neighbouring Bahrain, and now are taking part in bloody attacks in Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition had been blacklisted by the UN for the unconscionable number of children killed by its airstrikes.
This new arms deal, to sell even more LAVs to Saudi Arabia over the next decade, contradicts everything we stand for. Our middle-power nation is known around the world for inventing peacekeeping, for banning landmines, for rejecting George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq and his Star Wars missile defence system.
These are values that you and I share, and together, we have steadfastly upheld and promoted them. That’s why I am counting on your support, once again. Like you, I am not prepared to let the arms dealers win.
It was almost a year ago that millions of Canadians voted for historic change – finally ridding Canada of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
The Defence Lobby – that powerful network of corporations (mostly U.S.-headquartered), politicians, academics and media pundits – all fueled by billions of dollars in military spending – has been working overtime to push the Trudeau government to make more dubious arms deals, and even to abandon their promise to kill the Harper plan to buy the obscenely overpriced and under-performing F-35 stealth fighter.
Under new transparency rules, the Liberal government released the 2014 and 2015 Reports on Canada’s Military Exports and, unbelievably, they reveal that Middle Eastern tyrants like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are not the only questionable recipients of Canadian-made weapons. In fact, Algeria, Thailand (after the military coup), Peru and Colombia are also recipients, despite their dreadful human rights records.
Canadian companies have also been accused of UN sanctions-busting, through banned weapons sales to Libya and South Sudan.
What is happening to the Canada I grew up in?
We have just come through a veritable “decade of darkness” characterized by reckless military spending, disastrous foreign wars, and Cold War sabre-rattling.
We can clearly see the terrible results. The Defence Lobby, and the arch Conservative think tanks they fund, have become so deeply entrenched in the Canadian body politic and they have such a stranglehold on government that the Liberals seem powerless (or unwilling) to escape their clutches.
The ball is in your court Prime Minister Trudeau. Are you going to turn a blind eye to Saudi’s inhumane treatment and killing of women and children, while dragging Canada into their disregard for the right to life in Yemen – a grievous crime surmounting to genocide? If Canada proceeds to arm their invasion of Yemen with sniper guns and lethal tanks, your term as Prime Minister will leave permanent blood stains on our country’s reputation as peacekeepers and defenders of mankind’s humanity.
Regimes like Saudi Arabia and Israel have swept justice under the carpet, setting a standard of “new rules” of war, and what constitutes a human rights violation, or warrants U.N. sanctions – all played out for the world to watch by way of social media and television. Perhaps that is the most disturbing injustice – every nation is watching – yet, no one is willing to take a stand, and stop the killing, and put out an international arrest warrant for the Saudi royals, and certain Israeli rulers, for their violent war crimes against children, and unimaginable cruelty against innocent civilians of all ages.
Meanwhile… Saudi royals continue to throw money, or threaten to stop throwing money at the United Nations. And Israel, well the Jews survived Nazi Germany genocide, so that immediately grants them impunity – consequently Madam Justice has been bought, blackmailed, and bullied.