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Since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, there's been a major acceleration in the sales of frontline fighter jets, tanks and other U.S.-made hardware and weapons systems being sold overseas. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), worldwide sales zoomed from $18 billion in 2006 to $30.7 billion in 2009.
In 2009 and 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense notified Congress that weapons sales to foreign buyers could reach as much as $100 billion -- almost an eightfold increase from the $13 billion that was the yearly norm from 1995 to 2005.
If a regime that's a U.S. defense-industry customer gets overthrown or ousted, the United States doesn't just get to take the hardware or weapons-systems back, says Pieter D. Wezeman, a senior researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Instead, "the new regime would just inherit them" -- much like Iran inherited dozens of the then-frontline F-14 "Tomcat" fighter jets back in 1979, when the Shah was overthrown as part of the Iranian Revolution, which enabled the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to come to power.