The Pentagon after it entered into a new helicopter contract with a Russian company which is supplying the Syrian regime — even as the U.S. moves to arm the Syrian opposition. he contract was announced Monday with Russian arms firm Rosoboronexport, for military helicopters that will go to Afghan security forces. The Pentagon argues the helicopters are the only option. American taxpayers should not be indirectly subsidizing the murder of Syrian civilians,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement.
The latest contract used money from the fiscal 2012 budget, which was approved before Cornyn’s amendment. “In other words: they want us to believe that we are promoting U.S. security by doing business with a Russian arms dealer that is helping an anti-American, terror-sponsoring dictatorship commit mass atrocities,” he said. he $572 million contract announced Monday would purchase 30 Mi-17 helicopters for Afghan security forces, which deals with counterterrorism and other.
17 helicopters are “uniquely suited” for Afghanistan. pokeswoman Maureen Schumann said Wednesday the Russian government has notified the U.S. that Rosoboronexport is the “sole legal exporter of Mi-17s for military use.” Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, also said Tuesday that the Mi-17 is favored in part because of its “simplicity.” This week we’ve just equipped it with a weapons system, so it’s also now capable of providing some limited fire support,” he said. The company’s arms cannot be used against Syria’s civilian population.
But Human Rights Watch claimed last year that Rosoboronexport nevertheless appears to be Syria’s main weapons supplier, questioning how the company tracks how its weapons are being used. he Pentagon contract comes at a vital time, as the Obama administration steps up its support for the anti-Assad opposition by pledging to provide small arms to certain opposition groups. The contract potentially puts the U.S. government in the uncomfortable position of funding a company that is aiding the other side of that civil war.
Despite Russia’s claims, a Pentagon official wrote a letter to Cornyn in March 2012 that acknowledged “evidence” that Rosoboronexport’s arms “are being used by Syrian forces against Syria’s civilian population.”
Source—fox, Judson berger


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