Philippines’ human rights record an issue in pending $2.6B military sale
UPI, June 2021
As UPI reports, despite Congressional opposition, the U.S. State Department announced a determination this week to sell nearly $2.6 billion of defense material to the Philippines.
The $2.6 billion arms package includes AIM-9x Sidewinder missiles, AGM Harpoon Missiles, and $2.43 billion for 12 F-16 fighter jets.
U.S. security cooperation with the Phillippines has been under increasing scrutiny since the 2016 election of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over a violent war on drugs that has killed thousands, a harsh crackdown on critics, journalists, and civil society, and a violent counterterror campaign in the country’s south.
A group of 10 House members co-sponsored a bill last week to suspend military arms sales to the Philippines, citing the human rights record of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, “until violence against dissident ceases and accountability against the perpetrators commences,” Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said in a statement.
The bill also calls for an end to U.S. security assistance to the Philippines, as has been argued by other arms control experts, including CIP’s William Hartung.
A New York Times investigation reveals that, starting in 2014, the State Department paid Tier 1 Group, an Arkansas-based security company and a subsidiary of Cerberus Capital Management, to provide training to the Saudi operatives who would go on to murder dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Biden administration has “temporarily halted” the military aid package that it prepared to send to #Ukraine after #Russia announced that it was going to scale down its troops ahead of the Biden-Putin meeting last week.
In light of the recent collapse of the Lebanese economy and resulting wage cuts for the Lebanese Armed Forces, the United States is weighing assistance strategies that include direct cash transfers to bolster soldier salaries.
Afghan ethnic groups are banding together to form their own militia as American and NATO forces continue to withdraw from the country. These militia groups may “serve as the last line of defence” but could also “fracture the unsteady government.”
The European Union is trying to get the green light on sending a military mission to Mozambique to help support and train troops to combat growing insurgency movements connected to the Islamic State, where fighting has primarily been in the Cabo Delgado province.
US officials have announced that a 650 troop force will remain in Afghanistan to provide security to diplomats and “assist Turkish troops providing security, as a temporary move until a more formal Turkey-led security operation is in place.”
Sahar Vardi argues in favor of a greater focus on arms import laws in legal and policymaking circles to support the ability to prevent arms exporters from supporting human rights violations by their trading partners.
While a limited U.S. military presence in Central Asia in conjunction with its Afghan strategy is nothing new, “the re-deployment of U.S. forces to the region would be both difficult & counterproductive,” argue Jeffrey Mankoff and Cyrus Newlin.
John Allen Gray of the John Quincy Adams Society reviews the history of American efforts to build a capable Afghan security apparatus, arguing that recent defeats suffered by the Afghan military, police, and special forces are proof that “The United States has been unable to build what it has stayed in Afghanistan to build.”
Data Fact of the Week:
Categories of Arms Authorized for Export to the Philippines in 2019
The graphic above illustrates the types of weapons and arms authorized for export to the Philippines in 2019, including over $56 million in small arms and ammunition.
A new opinion piece by CIP’s William Hartung argues that the U.S. should reconsider its security partnership with the Philippines and the Duterte government.