U.S. Still Buying Helicopters From Russian Arms Dealer That Supplies Syrian Regime

Afghan MI-17 HelicoptersAs Business Insider notes, one of the Pentagon's latest contracts will deliver $171.4 million to Russian state-controlled arms dealer Rosoboronexport, lead supplier of weapons to the brutal regime in Syria.

The contract is assumed to supply the Afghanistan military with Mi-17 helicopters. Business Insider: 

The reasoning is that Afghan pilots are short in supply and have strong familiarity with the Mi-17 over domestic models. Moreover, the Mi-17 is evidently better suited for Afghanistan's environment.

This flies in the face of recent action in both the U.S. House and Senate to discourage continued U.S. procurement of weapons from Rosoboronexport. Last week during debate of the 2013 Defense Appropriations bill, the House passed 407-5 a measure to block the Pentagon from engaging in contracts, loans or any cooperative agreements with Rosoboronexport. In the Senate, a resolution was introduced in June calling on Russia to end its arms dealings with Syria. (According to Amnesty International, Russia sent $3.85 billion in arms to Syria between 2005 and 2010.) In addition, the resolution's author, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), has called for an audit of the Pentagon's contract with Rosoboronexport.

No matter. It's just business, some will say. But as Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), sponsor of the House measure, said, "It is beyond unacceptable for the United States government to work with a firm that is arming the oppressive Syrian regime." One wonders if the Pentagon will notice. 

Make your members of Congress notice. Call them today to make sure they see to it that their votes to bar the Pentagon's dealings with the likes of Rosoboronexport are enforced. Demand accountability for a more sane defense budget that doesn't continually climb and encourage more war and conflict.

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