U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) amendment to effectively end the Pentagon's relationship with the Russian state-controlled arms export firm Rosoboronexport unanimously passed and will now be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) pending before the Senate. For years Rosoboronexport has been arming the Assad regime as it continues to commit atrocities against the Syrian people, and until just three years ago had been the subject of U.S. sanctions for assisting Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
"The American taxpayer should not be indirectly subsidizing the mass murder of Syrian civilians, especially when there are perfectly good alternatives for purchasing these same arms through U.S. brokers.
"Continuing this robust business relationship with Rosoboronexport would continue to undermine U.S. policy on Syria and U.S. efforts to stand with the Syrian people."
Sen. Cornyn's amendment bans any Fiscal Year 2013 funding from being used by the Department of Defense to enter into new contracts or other business arrangements with Rosoboronexport. In July the Pentagon announced a new $171 million contract to purchase 10 additional Mi-17 helicopters, which the U.S. has been buying through the firm on a no-bid basis to equip the Afghan military. In March Sen. Cornyn led a bipartisan letter in March to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta calling for an end to the U.S. Government's relationship with Rosoboronexport.