Arms Trade Bulletin May – June 2019

Posted By Han Verleyen On July 19, 2019 @ 10:09 am In | Comments Disabled

Arms proliferation still undermining peace prospects in Libya

The chaos within Libya has given rise to a score of armed groups. Porous borders and the cross-border proliferation of arms and ammunition enables these armed groups to engage in a wide variety of illegal activities, which in turn undermine peace and security in Libya and the neighbouring countries. Weapons from Libya’s stockpiles have been trafficked across the Sahara to a number of West African countries causing further destabilization. The situation in West Africa is further exacerbated by deprivation, marginalization, underemployment and grievance towards government as a 2017 UNDP study showed.  Networks of jihadi armed groups have spread all over Western Africa threatening peace and security in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger… The origins of this arms proliferation go back to the unrestrained transfer of conventional arms to Col Qaddafi’s brutal regime in the 1980s and 1990s and compounded by the civil war stoked by Ghadaffi’s repressive policies and by the military intervention by France and the UK, backed by the USA and Italy, in 2011.

Since the fall of Qaddafi in 2011 Libya has been marred by violence between the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and a Tobruk-based administration aided by Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). Both are supported by tribal militias and a variety of Islamic militants. Haftar can also count on Sudanese and Chadian rebel groups. The Government of National Accord is recognised by the international community as the legitimate government of Libya. In April 2019 Haftar began a military campaign to take Tripoli.

In a number of reports the UN Expert Panel has accused various States of violating the UN arms embargo against Libya.  The GNA is allowed to receive arms and ammunition on the condition that the Security Council is notified and has approved the transfer. In various instances no notification was given nor an approval granted. Qatar and Turkey have been accused of providing aid to Tripoli based militias. A recent Turkish delivery of armoured vehicles sparked a fierce fight between rival militias aiding the GNA.

Meanwhile the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have been accused of arming Haftar’s LNA. Egypt has donated aircraft, helicopters, ammunition and spare parts. The UAE has donated aircraft and helicopters, piloted by Emirati fighter pilots. What appear to be Jordanian armoured vehicles were recently seen to be in the possession of Haftar’s forces. Newspapers have reported France secretly arming Haftar’s forces.

On 22 May the Appeals Court in Tunis ordered the release of Moncef Kartas after having been detained by the Tunisian authorities on 26 March for “spying”. Kartas is the arms expert of the UN Panel of Experts on Libya which is mandated by the United Nations Security Council to investigate breaches of the UN arms embargo imposed on the Libyan warring factions.

UK Court Ruling on Arms to Saudi Arabia

On 20th June the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has won a small victory in the UK Court of Appeals against the British government. The original judicial review in July 2017 and the Appeal Court hearings from 9 to 11 April relate to decisions made between December 2015 and February 2017. The Court ruled that when assessing whether there was a clear risk that UK arms or military equipment exports to Saudi Arabia and its Coalition partners might be used in the commission of serious violations of IHL in Yemen, the British government had failed to “rationally” consider all the credible evidence which may point to a pattern of past violations of IHL by Saudi armed forces as required by Criterion 2c of the European Common Position. The Criteria of the Common Position have been incorporated into UK domestic law. CAAT’s lawyers did not base their case on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the Appeal Court Judgement did not mention the ATT obligations. A substantial part of the Court’s proceedings were held in secret, and the Court issued a “closed” judgement dealing with matters of national security.

Many UK parliamentarians have been calling for the arms exports to be stopped. Reacting to the Appeal Court’s open judgement, the opposition Labour Party spokesperson stated: “That the Government have failed to carry out such assessments is a matter of national shame” and called for a commission of inquiry. Since the Saudi Coalition began sustained attacks in Yemen against Houthi and other armed groups, the UK has licensed some £4.7 billion-worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia in a conflict whose death toll is now said by observers to be approaching 100,000 people with nearly 11,700 civilians killed in directly targeted attacks.

Although CAAT has campaigned for an end to all arms exportds to Saudi Arabia, in the Appeal case CAAT did not seek the Court’s order to suspend the existing UK export licences, and the Court did not order an immediate suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia in its judgment.  However, the Court ordered that no new export licences are issued for arms to the Saudi Arabia Coalition until the assessments have been done following the correct risk assessment procedures. The Court noted that “if historic violations were found to have taken place, … and the question whether or not any violations are “isolated incidents”, … That will be for the Secretary of State and his advisers…”. The UK Government can seek permission to appeal against the Court’s decision by requesting a referral of the matter to the Supreme Court, something the UK Government told parliament it would do, and it can ask for a stay, which is an agreement by the Court that the UK Government does not have to take any action until the Supreme Court Appeal is heard .

ARMS TRADE TREATY

Power Defiance Redefined | 29 May 2019 | IDSA

The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) released its May 2019 issue of Strategic Security Analysis titled, “The Arms Trade Treaty and Asia’s Major Power Defiance – India, China, Pakistan and Indonesia”. The paper has raised a number of issues regarding the gaps within the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) while highlighting what the four Asian States- India, Pakistan, Indonesia and China- find problematic in acceding to the Treaty.

Key Steps for the U.S. After the Unsigning of the Arms Trade Treaty | 22 May 2019 | Ted Bromund | The Heritage Foundation

The Administration should put the ATT under financial and diplomatic pressure, and withdraw from the network of related U.N. institutions.

Why the Arms Trade Treaty Matters – and Why It Matters That the US Is Walking Away | 8 May 2019 | justsecurity.org

It was not surprising or unexpected when President Donald Trump announced that the United States would “withdraw” from the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in an April 26 address to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The End Of The Arms Trade Treaty, An End To Illusion | 7 May 2019 | Ted Bromund | Forbes

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which President Donald Trump announced on April 26 that he would unsigned, is fundamentally unserious. It embodies the fantasy that the path to a better world rests in the piling up of unverifiable promises. Its illusions are a distraction from the problem it purportedly seeks to solve.

Trump’s misguided assault on the Arms Trade Treaty | 6 May 2019 | A. Trevor Thrall |The Hill

During a speech to the National Rifle Association in April, Donald Trump announced that he will “unsign” the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and ask the Senate to halt the ratification process. Though Trump and other critics argue that the treaty threatens Second Amendment freedoms and poses undue limits on American sovereignty, these claims are misguided at best.

What “Unsigning” the Arms Trade Treaty Means for American Gun Owners | 3 May 2019 | NRA

Last Friday, President Trump took the historic step of ordering the “unsigning” of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty during his address to the NRA-ILA’s Leadership Forum. President Trump’s action effectively withdraws the United States from the most comprehensive effort towards international gun control.

Trump’s Deceptive Arms Trade Treaty Argument | 1 May 2019 | Factcheck.org

In announcing that he will withdraw the United States from the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that under the international agreement, the U.S. would “surrender American sovereignty” and allow “foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom.”

AFRICA

Angola e China falam da indústria militar | 24 June 2019 | Jornal de Angola

Os Governos de Angola e da China avaliam desde hoje, em Luanda, a intenção do reforço, nos próximos tempos, da execução dos projectos relacionados com o fornecimento e manutenção dos produtos da indústria militar e assistência técnica, formação de especialistas e construção de infra-estruturas para as Forças Armadas Angolanas.

Amosun surrenders 1000 AK47 rifles, 4million bullets acquired before 2019 elections | 24 June 2019 | Premium Times (Nigeria)

A few hours to the end of his reign as Ogun State helsman, embattled Governor Ibikunle Amosun contacted the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, confessing that he had thousands of arms and millions of ammunition in store at a secret armoury in Government House, and that he had decided to hand them over to the police.

Brésil-Maroc. Les termes d’un deal pour le transfert de technologie militaire | 17 June 2019 | Le 360

Le deal entre Rabat et Brazilia a été évoqué par le ministère brésilien des Affaires étrangères; il concerne un projet de transfert de technologie militaire au Maroc, déterminé à créer in situ un embryon d’industrie de Défense.

NGO wants secretariat for Arms Trade Treaty to track ammunition | 14 June 2019 | Daily Trust

The West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA-Nigeria) has advocated for the setting up of an independent Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) secretariat by the Federal Government.

US donates military hardware to Malawi for peacekeeping operations | 13 June 2019 | DefenceWeb

The United States has donated almost $1.3 million in military equipment to the Malawian Defense Force, which will use it for peacekeeping operations and training.

General dynamics awarded support contract for Moroccan Abrams tanks | 13 June 2019 | DefenceWeb

General Dynamics Land Systems has been awarded a $16 million contract to provide technical support for Morocco’s Abrams main battle tanks.

UN chief Antonio Guterres: Libya arms embargo must be enforced | 11 June 2019 | Al Jazeera

All countries must implement a UN arms embargo against Libya with illegal weapons transfers by land, sea and air fueling the current fighting in the oil-rich country, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Leaked documents reveal Russian effort to exert influence in Africa | 11 June 2019 | The Guardian

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

Egypt sends more arms to Libya’s Haftar | 7 June 2019 | Middle East Monitor

Libyan Brigadier General Khalifa Haftar has received a new shipment of weapons from Egypt to help him in his battle to take over Tripoli, Egyptian sources have said.

Burkina Faso : levée de la suspension de vente d’armes aux civils | 6 June 2019 | People Daily

Le ministère burkinabè en charge de la Sécurité a levée mercredi la suspension de vente d’armes à feu aux civils, a-t-on appris de source officielle.

Guns are smuggled to us from Ghana – Nigerian criminal confesses | 6 June 2019 | citinewsroom.com | GhanaWeb

A member of a notorious arms-smuggling syndicate who has been arrested in Nigeria has confessed to getting their supplies from Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Ghana: Outdated Gun Laws to Go! … to Be Replaced With Stricter Sanctions and to Stop Proliferation of Illicit Arms | 5 June 2019 | Ghanaian Times | AllAfrica

The National Small Arms and Light Weapons Commission has initiated a process to review the Arms and Ammunitions Act, 1972, to address the shortfalls of the 47-year document. Among changes being considered, is the introduction of stricter sanctions regime, as part of efforts to nib in the bud the proliferation of illicit arms and its repercussion on security.

Hensoldt Optronics SA recognised as key supplier of Helmet Tracker Systems | 31 May 2019 | DefenceWeb

Hensoldt Optronics South Africa has been recognised as a key supplier of Helmet Tracker Systems to BAE Systems Rochester in the United Kingdom under a relationship that has been in place for more than 15 years.

Haftar calls on Egypt to supply surface-to-surface missiles | 30 May 2019 | Middle East Monitor

Sources at Al-Ahram Centre for Political Studies have revealed that Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has called on Egypt to supply him with surface-to-surface missiles to back his attack on the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Jordanian armoured vehicles spotted in Libya | 28 May 2019 | DefenceWeb

It appears that Jordan has delivered an unknown number of Mbombe 6×6 armoured vehicles to forces in Libya allied to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) along with Jordanian-manufactured Al-Mared 8×8 vehicles.

Egypt raises concerns over Turkish involvement in Libya | 27 May 2019 | Ahval

Turkish involvement in Libya raises regional security concerns in Egypt | 26 May 2019 | The Arab Weekly

Growing Turkish involvement in Libya will destabilise North Africa, threaten to lengthen the Libyan conflict and harm Egypt’s national security, the Arab Weekly’s Hassan Abdel Zaher said in an analysis, citing Egyptian officials and experts.

Casualties in Western Libya Militias Clash over ‘Turkish Spoils’ | 26 May 2019 | Asharq al-Awsat

A bloody clash erupted between pro-Government of National Accord (GNA) militias in western Libya in recent days over a Turkish armored vehicles deal. The vehicles were set to be given the GNA’s Presidential Council that is chaired by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Libye : “Le maréchal Haftar est soutenu par des États qui pensent que l’option militaire est une option viable” | 23 May 2019 | TV5monde

Seul contre tous ? Le 4 avril dernier, Khalifa Haftar lançait une offensive contre la capitale libyenne Tripoli. Les molles protestations internationales ne l’ont guère découragé et, six semaines plus tard, la bataille est en passe de devenir un bourbier. C’est dans ce contexte que le maréchal était attendu par Emmanuel Macron ce mercredi à Paris. Une rencontre dont il ne faut pas attendre grand-chose selon le chercheur Jalel Harchaoui.

Tunisia frees UN expert but ‘battle has only just begun’ | 22 May 2019 | al-Monitor

Tunisian authorities released Moncef Kartas, a top UN expert on illegal arms transfers to Libya, from prison yesterday. Kartas, a dual Tunisian German national, had been held on espionage charges for nearly two months. But Tunisia has not dropped charges against Kartas, according to Sofiene Sliti, a spokesman for the chief prosecutor’s office. He will not be permitted to leave the country as the investigation continues into “the unofficial collection of information related to terrorism, which constitutes a dangerous crime,” Sliti said.

La Cour d’appel de Tunis ordonne la libération de l’expert onusien Moncef Kartas | 22 May 2019 | Maghreb Emergent

La chambre d’accusation n°34 près la Cour d’appel de Tunis a ordonné, mardi après-midi, la libération de l’expert onusien Moncef Kartas, accusé d’espionnage. Selon Mr Mohamed Mannoubi Ferchichi, membre du collectif de défense de Moncef Kartas, l’expert onusien devait quitter la prison de Mornaguia dans les prochaines heures.

Tripoli govt shows off Turkey weapons shipment despite arms embargo | 20 May 2019 | Ahval

Libya’s UN-backed government receives large arms shipment | 20 May 2019 | DefenceWeb

Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed government of national accord (GNA) headed by Prime Minister Fayiz Sarraj boasted of receiving a shipment of Turkish armoured vehicles and arms on Saturday in violation of a UN embargo of arms to Libya.

Flow of arms into Libya risks proxy war | 20 May 2019 | France24

Despite a UN embargo, weapons are still flowing into Libya where an assault on the capital by strongman Khalifa Haftar threatens to escalate into a proxy war between regional powers.

Libya’s UN-backed government receives military hardware in spite of arms embargo | 18 May 2019 | Middle East Eye

A coalition of forces allied with Libya’s UN-backed government of national accord (GNA) said on Saturday it had received a shipment of military hardware in spite of an arms embargo on the country.

National Democratic Congress panic over guns importations | 16 May 2019 | dailyguidenetwork.com | GhanaWeb.com

Customs debunks claims of importation of high-grade firearms | 11 May 2019 | myjoyonline.com

Customs intercepts container with guns | 10 May 2019 | dailyguidenetwork.com | GhanaWeb.com

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears to be panicking over the importations of guns into Ghana. It would be recalled that recently, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority at the Tema Port intercepted a forty-feet container loaded with guns imported from the United States of America.

UN arms expert imprisoned in Tunisia on ‘fabricated’ charges | 15 May 2019 | DW

UN experts on mission enjoy diplomatic immunity — and yet the body’s key expert on illegal arms shipments to Libya has been imprisoned on espionage charges in Tunisia since March. DW investigates.

Note to Correspondents: Questions concerning Moncef Kartas | 15 May 2019 | United Nations Secretary-General

The Spokesman has been asked questions since the arrest and detention by the Tunisian authorities of Moncef Kartas, a member of the Security Council Sanctions Panel of Experts on Libya.

The rise of Libya’s renegade general: How Haftar built his war machine | 14 May 2019 | Middle East Eye

From its powerbase in eastern Libya, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has gradually extended the territory under its control and the firepower at its disposal, to the point where it now challenges the authority of the country’s United Nations-recognised government in Tripoli.

How the West’s war in Libya has spurred terrorism in 14 countries | 3 May 2019 | Middle East Eye

Eight years on from Nato’s war in Libya in 2011, as the country enters a new phase in its conflict, I have taken stock of the number of countries to which terrorism has spread as a direct product of that war.

Imbroglio autour de la détention d’un enquêteur de l’ONU en Tunisie | 1 May 2019 | Libération

L’arrestation il y a plus d’un mois en Tunisie d’un chercheur chargé par l’ONU d’enquêter sur les trafics d’armes en Libye tourne à l’imbroglio diplomatique, Tunis peinant à justifier la détention de cet expert bénéficiant théoriquement d’une immunité.

AMERICAS

Under the Gun | 23 June 2019 | The Gleaner (Jamaica)

The United States Government is being urged to help bolster Jamaica’s security at the island’s unofficial ports of entry as local law enforcers cite these as the main channels through which Jamaica’s influx of illegal guns and ammunition come from its northern neighbour.

Republican-controlled Senate votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudis | 20 June 2019 | The Guardian

The Republican-controlled US Senate has voted to block the Trump administration from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, launching a new challenge to Donald Trump’s alliance with the country amid rising tensions in the Middle East.

Bolivia Subscribes to Firearms Protocol | 13 June 2019 | Dialogo

Bolivia subscribed to the United Nations Firearms Protocol on May 13. About 26,000 weapons are in the hands of civilians around the country, Bolivian Minister of Government Carlos Romero revealed during the signing of a letter of understanding with Thierry Rostan, representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Bolivia, and Simonetta Grassi, head of the Global Firearms Programme (PAF).

Senator Rand Paul: Stop arming radical jihadism | 13 June 2019 | Fox News

The Middle East is a hot cauldron continually threatening to boil over. It is a mistake to funnel arms into centuries-old conflicts. There is no great certainty that the arms we send into the Middle East will not one day be used against our soldiers. In fact, there is a real threat that someday our young soldiers will be sent to fight against the very weapons Congress sends today.

Homemade Gun Factories Sell Cheap Weapons to Brazil Criminals | 12 June 2019 | InSight Crime

Despite the loosening of gun ownership laws in Brazil, the country is seeing a boom in illegal gun factories, with homemade weapons taking up a significant percentage of the country’s total seizures.

The flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico is getting lost in the border debate | 12 June 2019 | PBS

President Donald Trump campaigned on border security and building a wall to, among other things, protect the United States from violence in Mexico and Central America. But while his administration’s hardline approach to immigration has focused on dealing with an influx of migrants along the southern border, which Trump in speeches and tweets also ties to an influx of drugs and crime, he has not addressed a central part of the violence that drives the displacement of many families in Mexico and Central America: guns, the majority of which flow from the U.S. to Mexico.

How a history of US-Saudi ties turned into billion-dollar arms deals | 10 June 2019 | Middle East Eye

Congress once again is preparing for a major battle with the Trump administration as the US president seeks to expedite the shipment of billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia without any congressional oversight.

United Technologies and Raytheon to Combine to Form New Defense Giant | 10 June 2019 | Fortune

United Technologies Corp. agreed to buy Raytheon Co. in an all-stock deal, forming an aerospace and defense giant with $74 billion in sales in one of the industry’s biggest transactions ever.

Rhode Island Lawmakers Try To Ban 3D-Printed ‘Ghost Guns’ | 6 June 2019 | Patch

The Rhode Island Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would close a loophole allowing people to create untraceable “ghost” guns made with 3D printers or other non-metal components. Under the bill, it would be illegal to own, build, purchase or sell firearms that are made from plastic fiberglass, which is immune to metal detectors. The ban also covers any gun without a serial number, one that is primarily plastic or fiberglass or any gun that couldn’t be easily identified by a security screening.

INKAS Canada showcases its Superior 4×4 APC vehicle | 5 June 2019 | Army Recognition

The Canadian Company INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing presents its 4×4 armored personnel carrier (APC) vehicle Superior at ISDEF 2019, International Defense and Security Exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel. INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing is a leading Canadian-based company that specializes in the design and production of a wide range of armored vehicles, including executive SUVs, luxury sedans, special purpose vehicles, personnel carriers, cash-in-transit vehicles, and others.

In a Blow to Maduro, Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela | 2 June 2019 | The Wall Street Journal

Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for President Nicolás Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against growing U.S. pressure.

1,500 US troops head to Middle East as Trump seals $7bn Saudi arms sale | 25 May 2019 | The Guardian

The US will send hundreds of additional troops and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East in the coming weeks to counter what the Pentagon has said is an escalating campaign by Iran to plan attacks against the US and its interests in the region.

Lobbying firm with arms dealer clients deploys veteran to unfreeze UAE weapon sales | 24 May 2019 | OpenSecrets.org

A U.S. Air Force veteran has registered as a foreign agent to represent the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as President Donald Trump invokes the Arms Export Control Act, bypassing Congress to unfreeze arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Trump Officials Prepare to Bypass Congress to Sell Weapons to Gulf Nations | 23 May 2019 | The New York Times

The Trump administration is preparing to circumvent Congress to allow the export to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of billions of dollars of munitions that are now on hold, according to current and former American officials and legislators familiar with the plan.

FN to Unveil Prototype 6.5-Caliber MK 48 Mod 2 Machine Gun at 2019 SOFIC Conference | 21 May 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

FN America, LLC, maker of a majority of small arms for the U.S. military, is excited to announce that the company will unveil the prototype for the newest variant of the MK 48 machine gun chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor at the 2019 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC). The development of this machine gun, which joins FN’s other 6.5 offerings, was undertaken as part of FN’s response to USSOCOM’s qualification of the caliber last year.

DSCA tightens end-use monitoring programme | 17 May 2019 | Defense Security Cooperation Agency

This memorandum revises the Security Assistance Management Manual (SAMM) Chapter 8 on EUM to establish requirements for Focused Verification Checks (FVC) and clarify reporting requirements for potential violations regarding the end use of U.S.-origin defense articles.

US threatens EU with trade war over weapons | 15 May 2019 | The Defense Post

The United States has all but threatened the European Union with war – albeit a trade war – over E.U. plans to boost cooperation between member states on military spending.

The Case for Suspending American Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia | 14 May 2019 | War on the Rocks

Arms embargos are often dismissed as symbolic, and therefore ineffective. But just because something is symbolic, doesn’t mean that it won’t have an effect. A U.S. arms embargo against Saudi Arabia would be a clear signal of American disproval of Saudi actions in Yemen, and would be an equally important signal to Washington’s allies, who are left wondering if the United States is ambivalent or uninterested in the growing Yemeni humanitarian catastrophe.

The Case for Arms Embargoes Against Uncooperative Partners | 10 May 2019 | War on the Rocks

The efficacy of withholding military assistance, including grant aid and arms sales, to modify the behavior of recipient countries is a hotly debated topic in the U.S. foreign policy community. Last month, War on the Rocks published another contribution to this discussion. In “The Case Against Arms Embargos, Even for Saudi Arabia,” Raymond Rounds opposes what he calls an “arms embargo” on Saudi Arabia, arguing that suspending U.S. arms sales as leverage over policy disagreements will only backfire by driving the kingdom to purchase arms from other countries. He contends that suspending sales to Saudi Arabia will fail to alter objectionable Saudi conduct, whether in Yemen or domestically, while “[damaging] ties with Saudi Arabia.” According to Rounds, this dynamic is not unique to Saudi Arabia, but a general proposition that applies to all U.S. arms recipients.

Canada Imposes Arms Brokering Controls | 7 May 2019 | Fasken | Mondaq

Some time ago, Canada finally decided to join the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (the “Treaty”), becoming the last NATO and G7 country to do so. However, before it can be accepted into the Treaty, it must make significant changes to its trade control regime. As a result, the Government has made, and will be making more, changes to the laws that apply to exporters, importers and brokers.

ASIA

Reckless in Riyadh | 27 June 2019 | The New York Review of Books

In February 1945 Franklin Roosevelt, on his way home from the Yalta Conference—and just two months before his death—made a detour to Egypt to meet Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman al Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state. Historians recall that the Saudi monarch brought aboard the USS Quincy live sheep for roasting on deck and his astrologer, while the American president introduced the seventy-year-old king to ice cream and movies. Yet their concerns were serious: the United States sought guaranteed access to the oil that had been discovered in the kingdom seven years earlier; Ibn Saud, as he was known, wanted protection from a challenge to his family’s rule that would be backed—in his imagination—by Britain.

Emirats Arabes Unis : et un nouveau contrat important à l’export pour Naval Group | 7 June 2019 | La Tribune

Naval Group a décroché un nouveau contrat à l’exportation aux Emirats Arabes Unis, qui ont acheté deux corvettes Gowind pour environ 750 millions d’euros.

Two Central Asian states interested in ALKAR mortar systems | 7 June 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

Based on the order of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, testing of the AHS-120 Alkar automated mortar system produced by ASELSAN is planned in the region. According to the information obtained by the Polygon, Kazakhstan is planning to integrate Alkar mortars into 8×8 Barys armored vehicles. The Barys platform, produced by Kazakhstan’s Paramount Engineering company, was tested in Kazakhstan in 2017-2018 and was recommended for armoring.

New IWI Carmel 5.56x45mm caliber assault rifle | 6 June 2019 | Army Recognition

At ISDEF 2019, New Carmel 5.56x45mm caliber assault rifle is unveiled by IWI Israeli Weapon Industries fully designed and manufactured by this firearms Company, now a member of SK Group, a privately held technology and innovation holding company specializing in global frontline defense, and para-military solutions, marine infrastructures and property development.

EMTAN MZ-9 automatic rifle 9 mm in 5″ and 7″ barrel | 6 June 2019 | Army Recognition

During a live demonstration at ISDEF 2019, the International Defense and Security Exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Company Emtan presents its MZ-9 series automatic rifle in 5″ and 7″ barrel. EMTAN is an Israeli manufacturer of small arms with over 40 years of experience and knowledge.

Ukrainian-Turkish Serdar RWCS passed trials for a foreign customer | 5 June 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

The qualifying trials of the first Ukrainian-Turkish anti-tank missile launching system “Serdar”, developed for a foreign customer, have been completed in Ukraine. Henceforth, the joint development of the Turkish company ASELSAN and the “Ukroboronprom” enterprises  – “Luch” Design Bureau and “SpetsTechnoExport” company has been ready for serial supplies within the existing contract with a foreign customer. Developers expect that MoD of Ukraine and Turkey will also be interested in the new System.

Despite international sanctions, Myanmar officials attend Tel Aviv weapons expo | 4 June 2019 | +972 Magazine

Representatives of Myanmar’s military attended Israel’s largest, government-supported security and weapons conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. The officials arrived at the Tel Aviv Expo Center for the International Defense, HLS & Cyber Expo, known as ISDEF, in full military gear. There they browsed through defense equipment and technologies produced by Israeli and international companies, alongside delegates of dozens more countries.

China donates Tiger armoured vehicles to Kyrgyz special battalion | 3 June 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

The Ministry of Public Security of China donated to the “Shumkar” special battalion of Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic buses, minibuses, SUVs, and Tiger armoured vehicles worth 30 million yuan.

Shladot unveils Super Tiger 4×4 urban armored vehicle | 4 June 2019 | Army Recognition

The Israeli Company Shladot, a leader in the supply of mobilized solutions for military and homeland security, including special purpose vehicles, trailers, and tankers unveils its new urban wheeled combat vehicle dubbed Super Tiger at ISDEF 2019, International Defense and Security Exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Japan’s defense industry still lacks bang overseas | 23 May 2019 | Nikkei Asian Review

Five years after Japan lifted a self-imposed ban on arms exports and related technologies, the nation has yet to ship a single piece of kit overseas.

Saudi Warplanes, Most Made in America, Still Bomb Civilians in Yemen | 22 May 2019 | The New York Times

After five days of treatment in a shabby Yemeni hospital, Luai Sabri died on Tuesday. The 20-year-old had a cracked skull, a ruptured spleen and a damaged liver, according to a relative, injuries caused by a bomb that dropped from a warplane flown by the Saudi-led coalition.

Arming Dictators, Equipping Pariahs: Alarming Picture of Israel’s Arms Sales | 17 May 2019 | Haaretz

Extensive Amnesty report cites Israeli sales to eight countries who violate human rights, including South Sudan, Myanmar, Mexico and the UAE .Amnesty calls on Israel to adopt oversight model adopted by many Western countries .Senior Israeli defense official: Export license is only granted after lengthy process

China’s Arms Exports: Up, Up and Away | 9 May 2019 | Defense & Security Monitor

Beijing continues to build its stature as a global arms exporter, according to the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on the military and security developments of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Per Department of Defense research, China completed over $25 billion worth of arms sales between 2013 and 2017, thereby rising to the level of world’s fourth-largest arms supplier.

Dubal Holding & North China Industries (Norinco) sign MoU | 8 May 2019 | Zawya

DUBAL Holding and China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) signed a comprehensive MoU during the week of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing to strengthen the strategic cooperation under the framework of the UAE Vision 2021 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The MoU sets out plans for the intended collaboration in the industrial, mining and energy sectors. The senior management of both companies were present at the signing ceremony.

Uzbekistan purchased 4×4 Typhoon-K armored vehicle | 6 May 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

Uzbekistan purchased 4×4 KamAZ-53949 Typhoon-K armored vehicle from Russia.

STE has concluded a series of agreements for the purchase of defense products in Turkey | 4 May 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

During the second day of the IDEF’19 International Defence Industry Fair held in Istanbul, the SE SFTE “Spetstechnoexport”, that is a part of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom”, has signed a series of contracts with the Turkish company “Aselsan” to import military products from Turkey for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other state security forces.

EUROPE

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court of appeal declares | 20 June 2019 | The Guardian

The Queen (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) -v- Secretary of State for International Trade and others | 20 June 2019 | Court of Appeal

The Defendant’s decisions (1) not to suspend extant export licences for the sale or transfer of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen and (2) to continue to grant further such licences are quashed; and the matter is remitted to the Secretary of State to re-take the decisions on the correct legal basis.

‘The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war | 18 June 2019 | The Guardian

Britain does not merely supply the bombs that fall on Yemen – it provides the personnel and expertise that keep the war going. But is the government breaking the law?

Deutsche Rüstungsexporte an Jemen-Kriegsallianz für mehr als eine Milliarde Euro | 16 June 2019 | Nordbayern

Vor 15 Monaten hatten Union und SPD in ihrem Koalitionsvertrag die Rüstungsexporte für am Jemen-Krieg beteiligte Staaten eingeschränkt – zumindest auf dem Papier. Neue Zahlen sprechen jetzt eine andere Sprache.

Armes françaises et crimes de guerre au Yémen, le gouvernement et le chef de l’Etat nous mentent | 16 June 2019 | ASER

Le mardi 11 juin 2019 Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines a défendu les engagements internationaux de la France devant le tribunal administratif de Paris (pdf), aidé en cela par l’Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture. Comme au Canada, en Grande Bretagne, en Italie et au Pays Bas, se sont les ONG qui tentent de faire respecter la déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme.

Licences d’exportation d’armes vers l’Arabie Saoudite: Annulation | 14 June 2019 | Conseil d’Etat

Le Conseil d’Etat annule les licences d’exportations d’armes wallonnes en Arabie saoudite | 14 June 2019 | Le Soir

Par ses arrêts n° 244.800, 244.801, 244.802, 244.803 et 244.804 du 14 juin 2019, le Conseil d’Etat a annulé plusieurs licences d’exportation d’armes destinées à l’Arabie Saoudite, à la suite de recours introduits par la Ligue des droits humains et la CNAPD.

Exportations d’armes : dialogue de sourds et jeu de dupes | 12 June 2019 | Amnesty International France

Le 4 juin dernier, le ministère des Armées a rendu public son rapport annuel au Parlement sur les exportations d’armement en 2018, avec quelques jours de retard, comme à son habitude. Cette nouvelle édition est loin d’être à la hauteur des attentes répétées de la société civile.

UK report on ‘human rights’ forgets to mention Saudi Arabia in section on Yemen war | 12 June 2019 | Russia Today

The UK has published its annual human rights report, but with some notable omissions in its section on Yemen’s war – namely the identity of the country bombing its civilians, and the UK’s own involvement in the conflict. The 2018 “Human Rights & Democracy” report (pdf) from the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) includes an almost 800-word section on the humanitarian situation in Yemen – but, to a reader unfamiliar with the specifics, the document offers few clues as to who bears most responsibility for the crisis, since the British report seems to have forgotten to mention some key details.

Russian GMLRS enters service | 11 June 2019 | Strategy Page

In early 2019 the Russian Army activated its first artillery brigade equipped with 300mm Tornado-S GPS guided rockets. This system had completed development and in late 2018 it was confirmed that they had used their new (since 2014) unguided 300mm Tornado-G MLRS (multiple launch rocket system) rockets in Syria, fired from the same six cell launch vehicle used for Tornado-S.

Die Skandalfrachter aus Saudi-Arabien und ihre tödliche Fracht | 11 June 2019 | Stern

Frachter der saudischen Schifffahrtslinie Bahri transportieren Waffen für das Königreich. Ihre Hafenanläufe lösten eine Serie von Protesten in Frankreich und Italien aus. Jetzt sollte ein Bahri-Frachter in Bremerhaven anlegen – änderte aber mitten im Atlantik den Kurs.

Guerre au Yémen : pourquoi le pays est en train de disparaître | 7 June 2019 | Le Monde

Interrogé sur l’utilisation d’armes françaises pour tuer des civils, le gouvernement affirme que Paris honore ses engagements sur les ventes. Les ONG contredisent ce discours.

European defence industry wrongfooted by Saudi weapons ban | 2 June 2019 | Financial Times

Suing one of your biggest customers may seem unthinkable, but the chief executive of Airbus, Europe’s biggest aerospace and defence group, will not rule it out. Germany’s decision last October to ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi threatens a border contract that Airbus has with the kingdom. The company took a €297m provision in the first three months of this year as it is currently unable to complete the contract.

Second Saudi Ship Leaves France Without Arms, Group Says | 30 May 2019 | Reuters | VoA

A Saudi cargo ship has left the southern French port of Fos-sur-Mer without loading its arms cargo destined for Saudi Arabia, blocked from doing so after pressure from rights campaigners, a French rights group said Thursday.

Le Bahri Tabuk repart sans armements ! | 30 May 2019 | ACAT

Arrivé mardi dernier au port de Fos-Sur-Mer près de Marseille où il devait effectuer un chargement d’armes françaises à destination de l’Arabie saoudite, le cargo Bahri Tabuk a finalement repris le large hier soir, les cales vides. Informée de l’arrivée du cargo, l’ACAT a immédiatement déposé un référé devant le tribunal administratif de Paris, visant à bloquer cet acheminement d’armes. Elle se réjouit que son action ainsi que la mobilisation citoyenne aient à nouveau contraint un cargo saoudien à quitter un port français sans sa cargaison d’armes à bord.

Convocations de journalistes à la DGSI : lettre ouverte au procureur de la République | 29 May 2019 | Liberation

De nombreux avocats, des syndicats et des organisations professionnelles s’élèvent contre les auditions de journalistes ayant travaillé sur les ventes d’armes à l’Arabie Saoudite et aux Emirats arabes unis. Libération publie leur lettre ouverte.

Rights group tries to block new Saudi ship from leaving France with arms | 28 May 2019 | Reuters

A French rights group sought on Tuesday to block the loading of what it said were munitions onto a Saudi Arabian ship docked in southern France, as pressure mounts on Paris to stop military sales to the kingdom.

L’ACAT dépose un nouveau référé pour empêcher le chargement de munitions françaises au port de Marseille-Fos | 28 May 2019 | ACAT

C’est un autre cargo de la compagnie Bahri qui est attendu aujourd’hui au port de Marseille-Fos. Le Bahri Tabuk doit effectuer un chargement d’armes françaises à destination de l’Arabie Saoudite, un des belligérants principaux du conflit yéménite. L’ACAT se mobilise de nouveau et appelle la société civile ainsi que son réseau local à empêcher ces munitions de partir pour l’Arabie saoudite.

Des munitions de canons Caesar expédiées vers l’Arabie saoudite depuis Marseille | 27 May 2019 | Disclose

Dans quelques heures, un cargo saoudien devrait embarquer des munitions au port de Marseille-Fos. Ces charges explosives équipent des canons français accusés de faire feu sur des populations civiles au Yémen.

Journalistes convoqués par la DGSI: Macron invoque la sécurité nationale | 24 May 2019 | Huffington Post

Le président de la République a réagi aux critiques sur la liberté de la presse après la convocation de plusieurs journalistes par la DGSI.

UK negotiates loophole in Saudi export ban to sell planes for use in Yemen | 23 May 2019 | The Guardian

The UK government has negotiated a loophole in a German arms export ban to Saudi Arabia that will ensure UK-supplied planes will continue to be used in the war in Yemen, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has confirmed.

Testimony Brian Wood on UK arms exports before the UK Arms Export Controls Committee | 22 May 2019 | UK Parliament

Citizens committee puts Saudi arms sales under scrutiny | 21 May 2019 | The Guardian

The failure of Britain’s “broken select committee system” to mount a new inquiry into UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia has prompted a group of MPs, arms sales analysts and former army officers to form its own citizens committee to argue against the multibillion-pound weapons contracts.

UK arms exports are still playing a central role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis | 21 May 2019 | The Guardian

The key problem with the government’s position is that targeting the civilian population, which is illegal under international law, appears to be a core component of the Saudi-led coalition’s strategy in Yemen. Excessive civilian harm in the war is not an accidental side-effect of an otherwise effective military strategy.

Italy unions refuse to load Saudi ship in protest over Yemen war | 20 May 2019 | Reuters

Italian unions refused on Monday to load electricity generators onto a Saudi Arabian ship with weapons on board in a protest against the war in Yemen. The Bahri-Yanbu vessel loaded arms in the Belgian city of Antwerp earlier this month, but was prevented from picking up another consignment of weapons in the French port of Le Havre following protests by humanitarian groups.

Swiss Vote to Tighten Gun Laws to Align With E.U. Rules | 19 May 2019 | The New York Times

Swiss voters agreed on Sunday to tighten the country’s gun laws to reach parity with European Union antiterrorism legislation that came into force following attacks in Paris and elsewhere.

Saudi ship, blocked from loading arms cargo in France, arrives at Spanish port | 13 May 2019 | Reuters

A Saudi ship, prevented by rights groups from loading an arms cargo at the French port of Le Havre on Friday, arrived at the Spanish port of Santander early on Monday. It was not clear what the Saudi ship was doing in Santander or how long it would stay docked there.

Arms shipment to Saudi Arabia flouts multiple EU states’ Arms Trade Treaty obligations | 13 May 2019 | Amnesty International

Reacting to the onward voyage of the Saudi Arabian state shipping company’s vessel, the Bahri Yanbu, from the Spanish port of Santander this afternoon, Ara Marcen Naval, Deputy Director for Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said: “Laden with arms that will likely be used in the war in Yemen, the Bahri Yanbu has been bouncing off European ports like a pinball. After loading up with Belgian munitions in Antwerp, it has visited or attempted to visit ports in the UK, France and now Spain, and is due to dock at the Italian port of Genoa later this week.

Première victoire ! le cargo saoudien « de la honte » le Bahri Yanbu dérouté n’a pu charger les canons Caesar dans le port du Havre | 10 May 2019 | Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines

Ce jour, le 10 mai 2019, le cargo saoudien Bahri Yanbu n’a pas pu charger au Havre les 8 canons Caesar de la société nationale Nexter. Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines (ASER) et l’Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture (ACAT) avaient déposé chacun un référé auprès du tribunal administratif de Paris le 9 mai 2019.

Er werd afgelopen weekend munitie geladen op de Saoedische boot in de haven van Antwerpen | 10 May 2019 | Vredesactie

Afgelopen weekend meerde de Bahri Yanbu aan in de haven van Antwerpen. De boot maakt deel uit van de nationale scheepvaartmaatschappij van Saoedi-Arabië, die betrokken is bij de bewapening van het conflict in Jemen. Vredesactie ontving info waaruit blijkt dat er minstens zes containers met munitie werden ingeladen, bestemd voor Saudi-Arabië. Ook de douane bevestigde eerder vandaag dat er wapens aan boord waren.

Rights groups try to block Saudi vessel loading French arms | 9 May 2019 | Reuters

Two French human rights group on Thursday sought to block the loading of weapons onto a Saudi Arabian vessel that is due to dock in northern France later in the day, the groups said, arguing the cargo contravened an international arms treaty.

France confirms contested arms shipment to Saudi Arabia | 8 May 2019 | France 24

The French government confirmed Wednesday that a new shipment of weapons will head for Saudi Arabia, despite claims Riyadh is using the arms in the Yemen war. Defence Minister Florence Parly told BFM television the weapons would be loaded onto a Saudi cargo ship scheduled to arrive Wednesday in the French port of Le Havre.

Belgian Arms : Il faut une Commission d’enquête parlementaire | 8 May 2019 | AI Francophone

Suite à la parution dans divers médias des résultats d’une enquête révélant l’utilisation d’armes belges par l’Arabie saoudite dans le conflit au Yémen, Amnesty International demande que toute la lumière soit faite et dénonce l’irresponsabilité de la Région wallonne dans ses exportations d’armes à des pays qui commettent des crimes de guerre, en violation flagrante de ses engagements internationaux et de sa propre législation.

Ventes d’armes françaises : rien n’arrête plus le gouvernement malgré les crimes de guerre au Yémen | 7 May 2019 | Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines

Aujourd’hui, mardi 7 mai 2019, le média indépendant Disclose nous apprend que le cargo  Bahri Yabun, battant pavillon saoudien, doit arriver demain mercredi 8 mai au Havre pour charger des canons Caesar produits par la société Nexter appartenant à l’Etat français.

STE to supply 120 mm anti-tank laser guided missiles to Turkey | 4 May 2019 | Polygon Military Magazine

During the first day of the IDEF’19 International Defence Industry Fair held in Istanbul, the SE SFTE “Spetstechnoexport” solemnly initialed a contract with the Turkish state corporation “Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu” (“MKEK”) for supply of 120 mm anti-tank laser guided missiles “Konus”, developed and produced by the “State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch”.

Vertrekken er wapens vanuit Antwerpen naar Saoedi-Arabië? | 3 May 2019 | Vredesactie

In de haven van Antwerpen meert vanavond de Bahri Yanbu aan. Bahri is de nationale scheepvaartmaatschappij van Saoedi-Arabië, en speelt een rol in de militaire bevoorrading van het land. Vredesactie publiceert vandaag een dossier (PDF) waaruit blijkt dat er ook in Antwerpen wapens worden ingescheept.


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