War is good for business. Defence companies have rushed to assure investors that they stand to gain from the escalating conflicts in the Middle East.
Raytheon, Oshkosh, and Lockheed Martin were at a Credit Suisse conference in the US last week.
Lockheed Martin executive vice president Bruce Tanner told the conference his firm will see “indirect benefits” from the war in Syria.
In particular he cited the Turkish military’s recent decision to shoot down a Russian warplane.
The incident, Tanner said, heightens the risk for US military operations in the region, providing “an intangible lift because of the dynamics of that environment and our products in theatre”.
He also stressed that the Russian intervention would highlight the need for Lockheed Martin-made F-22s and the new F-35 jets.
And for “expendable” products, such as a rockets, Tanner added that there is increased demand, including from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia because of the war in Yemen.
Raytheon chief executive Tom Kennedy told the conference that he is seeing “a significant uptick” for “defence solutions across the board in multiple countries in the Middle East”.
Noting that he had met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Kennedy said, “It’s all the turmoil they have going on, whether the turmoil’s occurring in Yemen, whether it’s with the Houthis, whether it’s occurring in Syria or Iraq, with Isis.”
Arms firms' shares spike at war news
Share prices of Europe’s largest weapons manufacturers all jumped following the decision to join the bombing campaign in Syria.Stock values at BAE Systems, Airbus, Finmeccanica and Thales all rose.
BAE Systems jumped four points at the start of trading, just hours after its Tornado jets left bases in Cyprus to bomb Syria.
In total BAE Systems, the main beneficiary from British military spending, has seen its value increase by 14 percent after the Paris attacks of 13 November.
Expensive missiles that don’t work
Each of the RAF’s Tornado GR4 jets costs £9.4 million, and each flight costs around £35,000 per hour.
Two Tornados are typically used for each flight, and each flight lasts anywhere between four and eight hours.
Even at the lowest estimate, each flight costs £140,000.
Their cargo is four Paveway bombs and two Brimstone missiles, costing £22,000 and £105,000 per unit.
That’s £298,000 plus the cost of the flight which is £438,000, and that’s an optimistic estimate.
If the jets carry Storm Shadow missiles—which cost £800,000 a pop—and conduct an eight-hour mission, the total cost is higher. And none of this takes into account the cost of fuel.
Much was made of the Brimstone in the run-up to war.
The maunfacturers claim it is the “most accurate precision strike product on the market”.
In fact the first stikes launched by the Tories didn’t use them because they don’t fit on the planes they sent.
British interests rather than truth
Sir Mark Lyall Grant is the government’s National Security Adviser and is, inevitably, an Old Etonian.
According to former British ambassador Craig Murray, “He is also one of the nastiest people I have ever met.
“In 1999 within the Foreign Office he tried to remove me from my position as Deputy High Commissioner in Accra because, in a speech at an anti-corruption conference, I had stated that British firms too were sometimes involved in corruption.
“In a very frosty interview, he told me my job was to promote British interests, not promote the truth.
According to Murray, Lyall Grant “directly told me that furthering the British interest is more important than truth.”
More recently, Lyall Grant was responsbile for convincing Labour MPs to vote for war last week.
The miraculous Syrian oilfield
On 23 October The Daily Express newspaper reported, “The terrorists’ oil field in eastern Syria was obliterated in a day of bombing.
“US operations officer Major Michael Filanowski told reporters in Baghdad the Omar oil field was blitzed, heavily damaging the lucrative funding source for ISIS.”
But oddly the Express reported on 3 December, “Four Tornados took off from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus just an hour after MPs voted in favour of launching airstrikes in the war-torn country.
“The jets struck targets in the Omar oil field in Eastern Syria, dealing a ‘real blow’ to the death cult, also known as Daesh.”
Tory MP edits in her own death threat
Tory MP Lucy Allen published a genuine email from a voter who branded her “an empty shell of a human being” and “detached from reality”.
The reason was that she had voted in favour of bombing Syria.
Rather ominously the post concluded with the words, “unless you die”.
But the person who sent the email said they had sent the insult but not the death threat.
The MP deleted the post and said it had been edited for “illustrative purposes”.
Police carried out anti-terror attack exercises in London, with pictures of mock corpses. It came with warnings that injured people will be left to die. When? The day before MPs were urged to vote for war. How similar that was to February 2003, when Tony Blair, sent 450 armed troops and tanks to parade around Heathrow airport the day before millions marched against war.
New Chilcot delay
The government has denied rumours that the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war is to be further delayed as Chilcot looks into the lies about the Syrian war as well. A Tory spokesperson didn’t tell Troublemaker, “We will need an entirely new inquiry into these untruths. The Chilcot delay is Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.”