//Weapons dealers cash in on tensions in Arabian Gulf

Weapons dealers cash in on tensions in Arabian Gulf

Agencies, 18 Feb 2007

Abu Dhabi: One of the biggest arms shows in the world continued in Abu Dhabi on Monday, showing that weapons dealers are cashing in on the political insecurities in the Arabian Gulf.

The International Defence Exhibition opened on Saturday with a speech by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for the Middle East, Mark Kimmitt, and features tanks, missiles, unmanned vehicles, and warships.

The exhibition is an indication that Gulf governments, awash with money from oil sales, have been spending large sums of money to refit their forces, amid fears that the increasing tensions between Iran and the United States could spill over to a wider regional conflict.

Qatar, Bahrain, the Emirates, and Kuwait all host American military bases which would become prime targets in any regional war.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told air force commanders earlier this month that Iran will strike US interests around the world if his country is attacked.

It has been reported that retaliation could include stopping oil traffic through the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz. Roughly two-fifths of all the world's traded oil passes through the strategic waterway, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Such a blockade would wreak havoc on the Arab economies of the region, which are based on oil exports, not to mention the global economy.

Jong Kwan Park, vice president of overseas development at Dodaam Systems Ltd said, "The reason I'm here is because business is expanding in the Gulf Cooperation Council, it's an opportunity to enlarge."

An exhibit for Doosnan Infracore, a privatised South Korea company, has an imposing display of their tank-like air defence gun.

A marketing manager for the company, Se Ihn Chang, said, "We think that the Gulf area is threatened with an unstable political situation, so they probably need product useful for air defence. Gulf countries are already showing an interest."