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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why “underdeveloped” countries cannot rise

While major powers make and maintain war
Children beg and starve
Powerful and partnered countries’ weapons trafficking — Asia to all points Africa — furthers “Third World” poverty, conflict, and breakdown. Notes from SIPRI reports - Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s recent papers on the subject: “Israeli arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa” by Siemon T. Wezeman (October 2011); “Arms transfers to Zimbabwe: implications for an arms trade treaty” by Lukas Jeuck (March 2011); “Ukrainian arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa” by Paul Holtom (February 2011); “South African arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa” by Pieter D. Wezeman (January 2011)

Established in 1966, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. It provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

Sub-Saharan Africa

The combination of conflict and weak governance in Somalia devastates civilians, exacerbates regional tensions, and facilitates the rise of piracy.

ISRAEL arms Africa

In addition to major weapons, Israel has supplied small arms and light weapons, military electronics and training to several countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region. Israeli weapons, trainers and brokers have been observed in numerous African trouble spots and may play a bigger role than their numbers imply.

Weapons deliveries to conflicts and undemocratic regimes continue unabated. … Developing political and military ties to several African countries gains in importance, particularly to counter Iranian or suspected-Iranian influences. 

UKRAINE arms Africa
Ukrainian arms exports to Africa continue to cause rising concerns

In the past 20 years, Ukraine consistently has been among the 10 largest arms exporters in the world. An estimated 18 percent of Ukrainian arms exports during 2005–2009 were for recipients in sub-Saharan Africa — specifically to Kenya (or Southern Sudan), Chad, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ukraine has supplied surplus aircraft, tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, SALW and ammunition to armed forces in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ukrainian companies and individuals also have supplied other services related to arms transfers and participated in combat missions for African armed forces.

In recent years, government forces against armed groups in Chad, the DRC and Equatorial Guinea have used Ukrainian-supplied arms. Ukraine continues arms deliveries to Chad and the DRC. Ukrainian, Kenyan and Southern Sudanese officials deny, despite evidence to the contrary, that Ukrainian deliveries of tanks, artillery and ammunition to Kenya have been re-exported to Southern Sudan.

ZIMBABWE armed and in conflict

Since 2000, Zimbabwe has suffered high levels of political violence. The case of Zimbabwe illustrates the difficulties in maintaining responsible export principles when key members of the international community are unconvinced that internal repression is a sufficient reason to interrupt a country’s ‘sovereign right to buy arms.’

SOUTH AFRICA arms Africa

South Africa also continues to allow questionable arms transfers to zones of conflict and to countries where arms are used in human rights violations. In general, South Africa’s export policy seems to be mainly a matter of abiding by United Nations arms embargoes with few other restrictions.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has developed export policies, regulations and guidelines aimed at preventing arms exports that could fuel conflict or support human rights abuses. After several years of not publishing arms export reports, South Africa has returned to a level of public transparency about its arms export policy, which provides some opportunities for parliamentary and public accountability. However, doubts persist about the functioning of this system.

MAJOR PLAYERS in making and maintaining war

USA leads in arming the world, its conflicts and its wars
The United States of America “remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment, accounting for 30 per cent of global arms exports (2006 –2010).

During 2006-2010, the percentages of U.S. deliveries were — 
  • 44 percent Asia and Oceania
  • 28 percent to the Middle East
  • 19 percent to Europe.

The average volume of worldwide arms transfers in 2006 to 2010 was 24 percent higher than in 2001–2005.

The major recipient region in 2006–2010 remained Asia and Oceania (43 percent of all imports), followed by Europe (21 percent), the Middle East (17 percent), the Americas (12 percent) and Africa (7 percent).

The four largest importers of conventional weapons in 2006 –2010 are located in Asia: 
  • India (9 percent of all imports)
  • China (6 percent)
  • South Korea (6 percent)
  • Pakistan (5 percent).
[U.S. Russian New Cold War: in India’s 9 percent of the volume of international arms transfers, Russian deliveries accounted for 82 percent.]

These states have imported, and will continue to take delivery of a range of major conventional weapons, in particular combat aircraft and naval systems. 

“There is intense competition between suppliers for big-ticket deals in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America” [Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program, Dr Paul Holtom].

The Eurofighter consortium (comprised of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), France, Russia, Sweden and the USA compete for combat aircraft orders in the regions of Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America — with notable competitions in Brazil and India.

France, Germany, Italy and the UK compete for orders for naval equipment from Algeria.

1,630 billion to kill
While major powers make and maintain war
Children beg and starve
1,002 million starve

In an opinion piece last month, political analyst Badriya Khan penned this insight. “Think of 1,630 billion dollars being spent on weapons designed to kill.”

Think also of “1,002 million human beings who either do not eat at all or are always hungry. Shouldn’t this atrocious fact prompt the United States and western European countries — who account for 90 percent of world’s arms sales — to rethink?

“Considering that they are the freedom champions proud of imposing their models on the willing or unwilling — through means fair or foul — shouldn’t they turn their focus on ending hunger that robs human beings of their fundamental right to freedom?

“… The world is over-armed. The world is over-hungry. These are not new buzzwords but proven facts reflecting that the world spends well more than 1.6 trillion dollars a year on weapons, while more than one billion people languish in hunger.

“Record high food prices cause more hunger and deaths. One person in six either does not eat at all or is always hungry.

“The latest figures give more than one billion good reasons for disarming the planet but the chances of the current scenario changing are scant, if at all achievable. Why? Because, far more than governments wield or logic dictates —the arms business gets huge profits and political power.”

Source and notes

Small arms and light weapons [SALW]

SIPRI Project on Monitoring Arms Flows to Africa and Assessing the Practical Regional and National Challenges and Possibilities for a Relevant and Functioning Arms Trade Treaty paper series funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Publisher: SIPRI


SIPRI Authors

Pieter D. Wezeman (Netherlands) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program.

Siemon T. Wezeman (Netherlands) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program.

Paul Holtom (United Kingdom) is Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program. His area of research is monitoring and measuring international arms transfers, with a focus on the role of arms transfers in interstate relations.

Lukas Jeuck (Germany) was a research assistant for the SIPRI Arms Transfers and Military Expenditure and Arms Production programs in 2010. His areas of interest are EU foreign policy, civil society and security studies.

SIPRI March Report
March 14, 2011: India world’s largest arms importer according to new SIPRI data on international arms transfers, (Stockholm, March 14, 2011) India is the world’s largest arms importer according to new data on international arms transfers published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database is accessible at www.sipri.org.

“Weapons Seem to Weigh Heavily against Hunger” (Viewpoint by Badriya Khan), South Asian Outlook September 2011, Vol. 11 - No. 3), http://www.southasianoutlook.com/issues/2011/september/weapons_seem_to_weigh_heavily_against_hunger.html


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