Pentagon concerned Bout could return to arms trafficking after Griner exchange

Date:

Pentagon concerned Bout could return to arms trafficking after Griner exchange

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Thursday, December 08, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, emphasized that “our national security interests are not going to change” even though Bout was back in Russia.

  • According to Democratic Senator and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, there is no comparison between Griner and Bout.

  • “In 1995, Bout, a former Soviet military officer, started the freight airline Air Cess with a small fleet of Russian planes.

  • “Bout is especially well-known because he took part in the two Liberian civil wars, which killed 250,000 people and destroyed a large part of the country.

  • The Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States set up a sting operation that led to the arrest of Bout in Thailand on March 6, 2008. The senior DoD official said that if Bout returned to his old job, the U.S. military would focus on telling its partners in Africa that he does not have their best interests in mind.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, emphasized that “our national security interests are not going to change” even though Bout was back in Russia.

On Thursday, Kirby stated on CNN, “We’re going to make sure that we can defend this country against any threats.” Consequently, “we’re going to keep focused on making sure we can defend this country” in light of Mr. Bout being back on the streets.

According to Democratic Senator and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, there is no comparison between Griner and Bout.

In a statement released on Thursday, he said, “We can’t ignore the fact that letting Bout back into the world is a very scary choice.” “We must do better to discourage American people from visiting countries like Russia, where they are the main targets for this arbitrary detention. “We must stop inviting autocratic and rogue governments to exploit Americans overseas as bargaining chips.”

In 1995, Bout, a former Soviet military officer, started the freight airline Air Cess with a small fleet of Russian planes. Bout’s airline sent weapons to fight in Afghanistan and Africa, often to both sides. This helped start civil wars all over the world.

“If I didn’t do it, someone else would,” Bout said in a 2012 interview with the New Yorker.

Early in the new millennium, British officials started to raise the alarm about Bout as their forces in Africa came under attack from more and more advanced weapons, particularly in Sierra Leone and Angola.

Peter Hain, the minister of state for Africa in the British Foreign Office, told the House of Commons in 2000 that “Viktor Bout is indeed the chief sanctions-breaker and a merchant of death. He owns air companies that bring arms and other logistical support to rebels in Angola and Sierra Leone and take out the diamonds that pay for those arms, helping and abetting people who turn their guns on British soldiers.”

Bout is especially well-known because he participated in the two Liberian civil wars, which killed 250,000 people and destroyed a large part of the country. Between 1989 and 2003, Bout broke several UN arms bans by selling weapons to the warring sides, especially to the corrupt former president Charles Taylor.

In addition to Liberia and Afghanistan, Bout was active in the former Yugoslavia, Colombia, Angola, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States set up a sting operation that led to the arrest of Bout in Thailand on March 6, 2008.

The senior DoD official said that if Bout returned to his old job, the U.S. military would focus on telling its partners in Africa that he does not have their best interests in mind.

The individual claimed that Bout’s release would likely cause “a little flutter of sadness” in “any Africanist who has been working on this for years and years.” “If his network worked, we would all have to deal with the problems that illegal or stolen weapons could cause for their prosperity.”

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