Iran Saber-Rattling a Boon for U.S. Defense Firms

As seen on Time Magazine’s website. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been “the best recruiting officer” for U.S. military efforts to partner with Arab states over the past year. That’s according to General David Petraeus, who as commander of Centcom is responsible for overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What’s been good for Centcom has also been good for the high-tech U.S. arms industry. Despite the global recession, Arab states have signed huge deals for U.S. military hardware, whose sophistication has been on full display in two long wars in the neighborhood.

Petraeus said countries in the region now deploy eight Patriot missile-interceptor batteries — up from zero a few years ago — made by Raytheon Corp. And the Pentagon last month announced that Kuwait had ordered upgrades of its Patriot missile system, in a deal worth $410 million. But Raytheon isn’t the only beneficiary of anxiety over Iran. The United Arab Emirates this year ordered $9 billion worth of U.S. military gear, Petraeus noted, including 70 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets.

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