Menu

Arms Trade Highlights July-September 2018

|
top

“A high rate of access to firearms results in a high rate of intentional deaths with firearms (e.g. homicides and suicides)”. That is the conclusion of a new study on “Global Mortality from Firearms, 1990-2016” in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was done by the Global Burden of Disease 2016 Injury Collaborators at various universities and research centres. The authors try to make global comparisons between countries, claiming that: “Worldwide, it was estimated that 251 000 (95% uncertainty interval [UI], 195 000-276 000) people died from firearm injuries in 2016, with 6 countries (Brazil, United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatemala) accounting for 50.5% (95% UI, 42.2%-54.8%) of those deaths.” The high rate of intentional deaths with firearms in Latin America are then explained in the study by the presence of “drug cartels, the manufacture and sale of firearms and their illegal trade from the United States, and with post-conflict movement of firearms into civilian populations”.

However, can we believe the 50.5% claim comparing firearms mortality in those six countries with the rest of the world? When one looks at the figures for say Africa, the Middle East and Asia there seems to be serious underestimations of firearms-related homicides in official reporting. In January 2017 Rachel Kleinfeld wrote a critique of such studies – “Reducing All Violent Deaths, Everywhere: Why the Data Must Improve” (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) – especially in relation to unreliability of data collection, inconsistent definitions, and choice of indicators. According to Kleinfeld questions can be raised about the validity of conclusions drawn by making comparisons of country totals and across regions between countries with fairly reliable data sources and those with highly unreliable data sources.

Kleinfeld’s concern seems to apply to the current study. It compares 1990 figures with those of 2016. For 2016 the following number of firearm deaths are reported: Belgium (250), Central African Republic (211), DR Congo (1770), Libya (82), Syria (292), USA (37200), Yemen (670). The corresponding mortality rates for 2016 are: Belgium (1.7), Central African Republic (4.9), DR Congo (2.9), Libya (1.3), Syria (1.8), USA (10.6), Yemen (2.7). Compared to estimates for1990 this results in the following claims: Belgium (-3.1% change), Central African Republic (0% change), DR Congo (-0.3% change), Libya (-0.5% change), Syria (-0.8% change), USA (-0.9% change), and Yemen (-1% change). According to this study the mortality rates with firearms in Belgium, Libya and Syria are nearly equal. Also, according to the study the number of people getting killed with a firearm has dropped in Libya (despite a civil war and protracted gun violence since 2011), Syria (despite the massive civil war since 2012) and Yemen (despite the war since 2015).

These questionable results are most likely explained not only by the unreliability of data in many countries but also by the fact that the new study ‘of global firearms mortality’ looked only at: homicide by firearm, suicide by firearm, and unintentional firearm death while omitting estimates of firearms or small arms killings in armed conflict, as well as fatal shootings in law enforcement operations and in acts of terrorism, difficult as these are. Kleinfeld proposes that data should include the following indicators to give a good measure of mortality from firearms: homicides, deaths among armed groups in conflict, deaths of unarmed civilians perpetrated by state or non-state actors, and deaths caused by on-duty government security forces. 

One of the main problems with the picture this study paints is that it does not take into consideration the movement of firearms from armed groups and poorly managed state holdings into the general population, which obviously will have an influence on homicide rates, especially in zones of armed conflict. In correspondence with the authors, they responded to this criticism by stating that: “With respect to the small arms/light weapons that have moved from conflicts into civilian or post-conflict situations, these deaths are captured by our data and the estimates of the stock of those arms are based on the same estimation procedures described by the Small Arms Survey which attempts to account for unregistered and illicit weapons”. Adding: “Underestimation of the stock of firearms in countries with recent state or civil conflicts is an acknowledged limitation of that study”. The problem is that this also results in an underestimation of firearms homicides. The bias is compounded by omitting from the study estimates of deaths of unarmed civilians perpetrated by state or non-state actors, the majority of which are often considered war crimes and crimes that are serious human rights violations. This considerably narrows the range of policy solutions that will be drawn from an uncritical reading of the study.

In their methodology the authors already make it clear that their study has several limitations but it would be much better if the authors were very explicit about deliberate omissions of certain kinds of firearm mortality. That would still leave question marks over their use of estimates, notably their comparison of fairly reliable data with highly unreliable data. They readily admit that, “for many countries, data sources are sparse…”, which means that estimates for those countries with sparse data “have uncertain validity”, in reality meaning low validity. In several cases their current estimates (2016 figures) are merely estimates made 26 years ago (1990 figures). The authors counter this line of questioning by claiming that they have “to keep in mind that uncertainty around estimates will not be high simply because these are estimates. Estimation in this case seeks to account for a number of covering factors that may affect the comparability of values between settings. Indeed, the error associated with many of our estimates is very small precisely because we have sufficient data informing those estimates”. From a statistical perspective this might be entirely true. It does not, however, provide a solid basis for making strident comparisons of ‘firearms mortality’ rates between countries where some countries experienced armed conflicts or systematic state repression, and some countries did not, and where some countries have fairly objective mortality data collection systems and some do not.

Peter Danssaert

UN PROGRAMME OF ACTION ON SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS

The world deserves better than the lowest common denominator | 27 June 2018 | Small Arms Monitor

It’s not often that applause breaks out at the United Nations, particularly during weapons conferences. But on Monday afternoon, an impassioned plea from a state with a tragic history of bloody civil conflict and violence provoked a visceral response from conference participants. The sincere and unscripted remarks of this country’s representative centred on the necessity of controlling ammunition and reflected the genuine importance that his country attaches to this issue.

The Ten Dumbest Things I Heard About Guns At The United Nations  | 28 June 2018 | Ted Bromund | Forbes

For the past two weeks, I’ve been attending the Third U.N. Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects — mercifully abbreviated as RevCon 3 for the PoA.

U.S. Promises “Full Implementation” of UN Gun-control Agreement | 2 July 2018 | New American

June 29 marked the end of the Third Review Conference (RevCon) of the United Nations’ Programme of Action (PoA) on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Delegates at the conference, including representatives of the United States, worked on producing updates to the global gun-control agreement.

Inside the theatre of the absurd—the final day of RevCon3 | 3 July 2018 | Small Arms Monitor

In Waiting for Godot, the famous absurdist play, two characters converse across a range of topics while waiting for Godot to arrive. Spoiler alert: Godot never does. Over the two weeks of the Third Review Conference to the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons (UNPoA), states conversed across a range of topics while waiting for consensus. It never arrived.  Absurdist theatre is characterised by a lack of harmony, being illogical, and for uncertainty—all of which was how the last day of the RevCon felt at many times.

Anti-gun Efforts to Expand U.N. Regulations to Ammunition Continue  | 7 July 2018 | Ammoland

Shortly before 4:00 am last Saturday morning, the two weeks long Third Review Conference (RevCon3) on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) finally came to end.

Conservative website wrong on effects, purpose of UN conference  | 10 July 2018 | politifact.com

A conservative website falsely claimed that U.S. representatives to the United Nations promised to push for gun-control policies at home. “US representatives promise implement of UN gun-control plans,” said a July 5, 2018, headline from the Conservative Daily Post website. The report cited a similar story from the New American, a bimonthly magazine for “freedom-loving Americans” who support “limited government under the Constitution,” according to its about page.

FOURTH CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES TO THE ATT

A UN treaty to regulate the global arms trade has little impact | 18 August 2018 | The Economist

IF ALL—or even most—countries abided by the letter and spirit of the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the world might be rather less grim. Governments that sign up are supposed to halt exports of weapons if they have good reason to think they will be used to flout international humanitarian law. That could cover both internal repression and waging wars by inhumane methods.

Brazen treaty violations overshadow arms control conference | 20 August 2018 | Amnesty International

Many governments are still fuelling conflicts around the world and breaking the rules of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by supplying weapons to known human rights violators, Amnesty International said today. Delegates will meet in Tokyo this week for the fourth annual Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the ATT.

From recognition to action—making the ATT work | 22 August 2018 | Allison Pytlak | ATT Monitor

… neither in the Working Group on Effective Treaty Implementation or at CSP4 has there been any meaningful discussion on how Articles 6 and 7 are being applied by states or even more broadly about how concerns stemming from international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) are impacting on arms transfer decisions. This is a dangerous and possibly deliberate oversight in accountability that must be addressed in order to guarantee the Treaty’s credibility and more importantly, save the lives that it purports to set out to do.

The Annual Arms Trade Treaty Conference Sputters to a Close | 31 August 2018 | Ted Bromund | Forbes

The Conference of States Parties (CSP) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) closed on Friday in Tokyo. This circus will come to town in Geneva again next August, but I can’t believe anyone is eager for the big top to re-open. Of all the ATT meetings I have attended since 2012, this was by far the least consequential.

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Trump attack on ICC is the unacceptable face of US exceptionalism | 10 September 2018 | The Guardian

The title of John Bolton’s speech in Washington – “Protecting American constitutionalism and sovereignty from international threats” – sounded innocuous enough, if a little pompous. But its text represents the Trump administration’s most devastating and unrestrained attack to date on the global rules-based order and its legal flagship, the international criminal court.

John Bolton threatens war crimes court with sanctions in virulent attack | 10 September 2018 | The Guardian

John Bolton, the hawkish US national security adviser, has threatened the international criminal court (ICC) with sanctions and made an excoriating attack on the institution in a speech in Washington. Bolton pushed for sanctions over an ICC investigation into alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. He also announced on Monday the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington because of its calls for an ICC inquiry into Israel.

Background:

Will Americans be charged at the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Afghanistan? | 29 November 2016 | AMICC

The US has been a strong supporter of bringing several cases to the ICC, including Libya and South Sudan which were referred to the Court by the UN Security Council. However, the US cannot expect other countries to comply with the Court, to prosecute senior officials or expect them not to withdraw from the Court if it does not live up to these expectations itself. The US needs to prove that its commitment to international justice is not hypocritical and applies also to its own crimes. And the only way to do this and to ensure that the ICC does not prosecute US citizens is to conduct genuine and effective investigations and trials itself.

Trump, and Bannon and Draft Executive Orders…Oh My! The Future of US-ICC Relations | 8 February 2017 | AMICC

The New York Times reported that a provision in Trump’s draft executive order titled, “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations,” calls for a committee to consider cutting funds for the ICC. This provision would not mark a change in US practice because the US can not fund the ICC. In fact, the American Servicemembers Protection Act (ASPA) already bans US funding for the Court.

Burundi becomes first nation to leave international criminal court | 28 October 2017 | The Guardian

Burundi on Friday became the first nation ever to leave the international criminal court, set up 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities. However, ICC officials said a preliminary investigation launched by the prosecutor in April 2016 into possible crimes against humanity in the central African nation would continue.

Philippines to withdraw from International Criminal Court  | 14 March 2018 | CNN

The Philippines says it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), a month after the judicial body started an inquiry into President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs.

The International Criminal Court and the Trump Administration | 28 March 2018 | John B. Bellinger III | Council on Foreign Relations

Given President Trump’s antipathy towards international law and international organizations, and John Bolton’s particular historic hostility towards the ICC, it would be especially unwise for Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, to pick a fight with the United States by launching an active investigation of U.S. activities in Afghanistan and elsewhere. This would be a self-defeating action by the usually sensible prosecutor.

AFRICA

Algeria unveils upgraded BTR-80 | 27 June 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Algeria’s Ministry of National Defence has unveiled BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) that have been upgraded to launch 9M133 Kornet missiles.

How France ignored European promises and armed Sisi’s Egypt | 3 July 2018 | Middle East Eye

In his five years in office, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been able to count on France as a trustworthy arms supplier during one of the most troubled periods in his country’s history.

Jordanian armoured personnel carrier spotted in Libyan service | 9 July 2018 | DefenceWeb

A Jordanian manufactured Al-Wahsh armoured personnel carrier has been spotted in Libyan National Army Service.

Mali receives four Super Tucanos | 13 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

The Malian Air Force formally inducted four Embraer EMB 314/A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft into service during a ceremony attended by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, it was announced on 11 July.

Serbia Urged to Stop Selling Arms to Cameroon Authorities after Atrocity | 20 July 2018 | Balkan Insight | UNPO

The Cameroonian government has denied all responsibility for the filmed deaths of two women and two children, despite army uniforms being visible on screen. Amnesty International identified the weapons used in extrajudicial killings by Cameroonian armed forces as being of Serbian origin. It has urged Serbia to stop its arms trade to Cameroon due to the government’s “systematic violations” of human rights, and that its violent responses to Ambazonian activists were “unlawful, excessive and unnecessary”.

U.S. Releases $195 Million in Military Aid to Egypt | 25 July 2018 | The Wall Street Journal

The Trump administration released $195 million in military aid to Egypt, U.S. and Egyptian officials said Wednesday, allowing Cairo to access funds Washington withheld last year over concerns about the country’s human-rights record and relationship with North Korea.

What Are Russian Military Contractors Doing In The Central African Republic? | 2 August 2018 | Radio Free Europe

The three Russian journalists who were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) this week had arrived in the war-torn country to investigate the reported presence there of a shadowy Russian paramilitary force whose units are said to have fought in Ukraine and Syria.

Serbian Arms Spotted at Massacre in Cameroon | 10 August 2018 | Balkan Insight

Amnesty International said it has obtained a new video that shows Cameroonian security forces with Serbian-made weapons shooting at least a dozen unarmed people in the central African country.

L’armée centrafricaine reçoit des véhicules offerts par la Chine et les USA | 10 August 2018 | Centrafrique-Presse.com

Central African military receives new equipment | 17 August 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

The Central African Armed Forces (FACA) has received over 120 assorted vehicles donated by the United States and China.

The arms trade in the Horn of Africa promoting conflict | 14 August 2018 | DefenceWeb

The reluctance of western and other powers to act against Djibouti’s increasing arms trafficking activities poses an existential threat to the security of the Horn of Africa and imperils ongoing efforts to end long-running conflicts in the region. This is according to EXX Africa, which has published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa. (Download the report: http://bit.ly/2PvgfDy)

Tunisian Navy receives third Damen Offshore Patrol Vessel | 20 August 2018 | Jane’s Navy International

The Tunisian Navy has received the third of four new Damen-built Multi Service Offshore Patrol Vessel 1400 (MSOPV 1400) series offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

Russia Signs Military Cooperation Deal With Central African Republic | 22 August 2018 | Radio Free Europe

Russia signed a military cooperation agreement with the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) on August 21, less than a month after three prominent Russian journalists were killed in the war-ridden country while investigating Russian mercenaries.

AMERICAS

NGOs demand independent probe into use of Canadian armoured vehicles in Saudi Arabia | 5 July 2018 | CTV News

Some of Canada’s most prominent human rights and arms-control groups are demanding the Trudeau government launch an independent investigation into reports Saudi Arabian forces used Canadian-made armoured vehicles against civilians last year.

Trump’s arms export rules will undermine US security and risk human rights abuses | 15 July 2018 |  William D. Hartung | The Hill

This was the last week for public comments on the Trump administration’s plan to reduce restrictions on the export of firearms from the United States. There was much to criticize. A number of arms control, human rights, and firearms safety groups have submitted detailed critiques of the proposed firearms export rule.

Essential Imperatives for U.S. Arms Transfer Policy | 24 July 2018 | Center for Strategic International Studies

U.S. arms sales abroad are booming but not without controversy, as seen in recent sales to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration’s new arms transfer policy aims to make it easier for U.S. industry to sell weapons to other countries, but there has been debate in national security, industry, and humanitarian circles about what has changed. It is clear that the administration wants to sell more arms abroad, in theory to create American jobs and empower allied and partner countries so that they can tackle their own security challenges. Arms transfers, however, are a foreign policy tool.

Saudi Arabia spat with Canada hits home at armoured vehicle plant in Ontario with 2,000 jobs on the line | 7 August 2018 | Financial post

Fears grow a $15-billion contract at a London, Ontario, plant to make armoured vehicles for Saudi Arabia may be at risk. The city’s General Dynamics Land Systems plant has been supplying light armoured vehicles to Saudi security forces, thanks to a huge, $15-billion contract signed by the federal government in 2014.

Uruguayan Navy receives Skymasters from Chile | 20 August 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

The small Uruguayan Naval Aviation (ANU) service has received three Cessna O-2A Skymaster light utility/observation aircraft donated by the Chilean Naval Aviation service.

Ecuadorian Army receives M28 Skytruck | 31 August 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

The Ecuadorian Army Aviation service officially received a Sikorsky/PZL M28 Skytruck aircraft (registered AEE-208) on 28 August at its base at Pastaza, where its Aviation Group No 44 is headquartered.

ASIA

Qatar signs for Hawk jet trainers | 3 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Qatar has added nine BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft to its previously disclosed procurement of Eurofighter Typhoons.

Saudi-backed Yemeni forces received newly-purchased Serbian assault rifles | 5 July 2018 | defence-blog.com

Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces had received the batch of new Serbian assault rifles M05 E1 in caliber 7.62×39 mm as military aid by Saudi Arabia.

Studies ongoing for creation of defense industry zone  | 5 July 2018 | Philippine News Agency

Studies are underway on the construction of the so-called Government Arsenal Defense Industry Economic Zone in Limay, Bataan, Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Friday.

Les troupes syriennes saisissent des systèmes antichars APILAS en Syrie | 10 July 2018 | defense-blog.fr

Le 10 juillet, le gouvernement syrien a annoncé que les troupes de l’Armée arabe syrienne (ASA) avaient saisi plusieurs systèmes antichars APILAS de fabrication française dans la province de Deraa, au Sud-Ouest du pays.

Final batch of M109A4 SPHs arrives in Indonesia | 12 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

A final batch of 18 M109A4 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) arrived in Indonesia from Belgium on 9 July at the port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, an Indonesian Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat: TNI-AD) official has told Jane’s .

Pindad on track with tank production plan | 16 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Indonesian firm PT Pindad has announced that it expects to start mass-producing the Kaplan MT Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT) it is currently developing in collaboration with Turkey’s FNSS Savunma Sistemleri in 2019.

Iran reportedly to produce 700–800 tanks | 18 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

The Iranian military will receive up to 800 new and upgraded tanks, the Tasnim News Agency reported Reza Mozaffariniya, the deputy minster for industry in the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), as saying on 18 July.

A Bosnian signs off weapons he says are going to Saudi Arabia – but how did his signature turn up in Aleppo?  | 19 July 2018 | The Independent

The documents, some lying amid smashed guns and shrapnel, provided the most intriguing paper trail yet discovered of just who is producing the weapons that have armed the Assad regime’s most ferocious Islamist opponents

Qatar orders Kornet anti-tank missiles | 23 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Qatar has ordered Kornet anti-tank missile systems, Kalashnikov assault rifles, grenade launchers, and machine guns under an agreement it signed with Russia in October 2017, the Russian ambassador to Doha told the Tass news agency on 21 July.

Iran’s copy of US-made Phoenix air-to-air missile goes into production  | 23 July 2018 | defence-blog.com

Iran held a ceremony on 23 July to mark the start of mass production of the new Fakour long-range air-to-air missile, upgraded and reverse-engineered version of the US-made AIM-54 Phoenix.

China, UAE to expand defence industry ties  | 23 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have outlined an intention to expand defence industrial collaboration.

I traced missile casings in Syria back to their original sellers, so it’s time for the west to reveal who they sell arms to  | 23 July 2018 | The Independent

I don’t think either Nato or the EU has the slightest interest in chasing the provenance of weapons in the hands of Islamist fighters in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East

Rheinmetall to supply more than 1,000 logistics trucks to ADF | 25 July 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia (RMMVA) has been awarded a contract to deliver more than 1,000 high-mobility logistics trucks and more than 800 modules to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under the Land 121 Phase 5B programme, which is an extension of the current Land 121 Phase 3B project, Rheinmetall Group announced in a 25 July statement.

New BMP-3s of Iraqi Armed forces spotted at Kurganmashzavod’s facility | 27 July 2018 | defence-blog.com

The new BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles of Iraqi Armed forces were seen at the Russian “Kurganmashzavod” JSC military-industrial complex in the Kurgan. The new BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles in sand-coloured camouflage were spotted during the visit of the Russian delegation to the Kurganmashzavod plant. The “Voyennyy Osvedomitel” has speculated that it could be new fighting vehicles that were ordered by Iraq’s army.

Iran unveils new tactical ballistic missile variant | 14 August 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Iran revealed that it has developed a new version of its Fateh-110 family of solid-propellent tactical ballistic missiles on 13 August, but released few details about its capabilities.

Australian defence exports on the rise | 21 August 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Figures published by Australia’s Defence Export Controls (DEC), a branch of the Department of Defence (DoD), show a 25% increase in the number of defence and dual-use export applications submitted in the last quarter of fiscal year 2017–18 compared to the same period last year.

These 7 Chinese companies each topped $5B in defense sales — and could rival American firms | 23 August 2018 | DefenseNews

With China now the second-largest spender on defense in the world, Chinese companies are logically going to rank among the largest defense firms. But quantifying that number has proven incredibly difficult thanks to the opaque nature of both government spending and the firms themselves.

Hiding Behind the Coalition: Failure to Credibly Investigate and Provide Redress for Unlawful Attacks in Yemen | 24 August 2018 | Human Rights Watch

The armed conflict in Yemen, which escalated in March 2015, continues to kill, injure, and displace thousands of Yemeni civilians. As of August 2018, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had documented the killing of 6,592 civilians and the wounding of 10,470 in Yemen, with airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition causing the majority of the verified civilian casualties. Many millions more suffer from shortages of food and medical care. Despite mounting evidence of violations of international law by the parties to the conflict, efforts toward accountability have been woefully inadequate.

China bids to sell more arms to key supplier Russia | 28 August 2018 | Asia Times

For decades, Russian-made arms and weapons were a pillar of income in trade with China, as defense contractors and equipment suppliers – Sukhoi, Uralvagonzavod, Almaz-Antey and others – raked it in by selling fighter jets, tanks, guided missiles and military technology to the People’s Liberation Army.

U.S. assistance to Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen ‘is not unconditional’ | 29 August 2018 | The Washington Post

Continued military support to nations engaged in the war in Yemen will depend on the extent of their efforts to avoid civilian casualties, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday, as pressure builds on Saudi Arabia and its allies to protect noncombatants.

UN calls for end to Saudi arms sales | 30 August 2018 | New Zealand Herald

 United Nations experts have called on Britain and the United States to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in its campaign in Yemen. A report for the UN Human Rights Council cites growing evidence that Western-made bombs are being used in potential war crimes in the conflict.

Serbian Weapons Used in Yemen Conflict Zone | 3 September 2018 | Balkan Insight

As human rights activists demand an end to weapons sales to Saudi Arabia after a Saudi-led coalition’s deadly air strike on Yemen, new pictures show Serbian weapons being used in the Yemeni conflict on both sides.

EUROPE

Azerbaijan parades SOM cruise missile  | 29 June 2018 | IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

The Azerbaijani military displayed a Roketsan SOM cruise missile for the first time during its annual parade in Baku on 26 June.

The company behind illegal North Korean arms trade was a customer of Danske Bank | July 1, 2018 | scandasia.com

The biggest banking scandal in the modern history of Denmark continues to add new unexpected shades to the story. The scope of the Danske Bank money laundering scandal is greater than expected according to the Danske Bank CEO. Back in 2009, the bank was involved in a criminal case about illegal trafficking of North Korean weapons.

Saudi Arabia Remains Key Buyer of Balkan Arms | 6 July 2018 | Balkan Insight

Saudi Arabia remains one of the main export destinations for weapons from the Balkans, with Afghanistan, Iraq and Algeria emerging as new key destinations, SEESAC report says.

France lifts embargo on sales of defense products to Azerbaijan | 10 July 2018 | Vestnik kavkaza

The French authorities have lifted a ban on sales of defense products made by its military-industrial companies to Azerbaijan.

UK almost doubles arms sales to countries on governments list of human rights abusers, figures reveal | 18 July 2018 | The Independent

The UK nearly doubled the value of arms sales to countries on the government’s list of human rights abusers in the past year, figures reveal.

UK arms exports during 2016 | 18 July 2018 | UK House of Commons Committees on Arms Exports Controls

The present CAEC report relates to the UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report for 2016, but we have also referred to those for 2014 and 2015 during the course of our inquiry, as these had not been subjected to scrutiny by the previous Committees. Neither the Foreign Secretary nor the Secretary of State for International Trade (the latter of whom is now responsible for export-control licensing) was available to give us oral evidence. Both Secretaries of State should make every effort to give oral evidence to us annually.

US is main importer of Ukrainian small arms in 2017  | 21 July 2018 | Kyiv Post

Ukraine exported conventional weapons to six countries under contracts in 2017, the Ukrainian State Service of Export Control said in a report detailing international transfers of individual types of Ukrainian armaments last year.

Demand for British military kit helps arms exports surge to £9bn | 9 August 2018 | Telegraph

Sales of defence equipment to foreign customers surged 53% last year to £9bn, confirming the UK’s position as one of the world’s top arms exporters. The data was released by the Defence & Security Organisation (DSO), part of the Department for International Trade that helps UK businesses land export deals.

Swiss back at the top in small arms trade transparency | 22 August 2018 | Swissinfo.ch

Switzerland has come out top in a ranking about the world’s most transparent small arms exporters. With a score of 21.75 out of a possible 25 points, Switzerland came first ahead of the Netherlands, Britain, Italy and Serbia, according to the 2018 Transparency Barometer, published on Wednesday.

La production d’armement en Belgique: 11.403 emplois au total en 2017 | 24 August 2018 | Le Vif

La production d’armement et d’équipements militaires a généré 11.403 emplois au total en Belgique en 2017 – principalement en Wallonie -, a calculé le Groupe de recherche et d’information sur la paix et la sécurité (GRIP) dans un rapport publié vendredi.

Auch Ständeratskommission für Waffenexporte in Bürgerkriegsländer | 30 August 2018 | Swissinfo.ch

Das Verbot von Waffenexporten in Kriegsländer soll gelockert werden. Die Kommissionen von National- und Ständerat haben keine Einwände.

ICRC head slams relaxation of arms exports rules  | 1 September 2018 | Swissinfo.ch

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) opposes the relaxation of rules governing Switzerland’s export of war materiel to countries involved in civil wars. ICRC president Peter Maurer is also urging the Alpine nation to raise its “humanitarian profile.”

Arms industry spends millions to promote brands in schools | 1 September 2018 | The Guardian

Arms manufacturers are spending millions of pounds a year promoting their brands in Britain’s schools, the Observer has learned. The companies, which between them have sold tens of billions of pounds of weapons to overseas governments, including those with poor human rights records, sponsor a series of school events at which their brands are prominently on display. In addition, they issue teaching materials for use in classrooms that promote the defence sector, sponsor competitions and award prizes.

Loopholes allow Swiss weapons producers to massage export rules | 3 September 2018 | Swissinfo.ch

Weapons exporters already exploit enough regulatory loopholes to make a proposed relaxation of the Swiss arms trade a largely academic exercise, according to a Federal Audit Office (FAO) report. In June, the government proposed allowing weapons to be exported to countries in the throes of internal conflict provided it could be established that they would not be used by warring parties. The FAO says it is currently possible to sidestep existing restrictions using perfectly legal measures. (Download the report in German: https://www.efk.admin.ch/images/stories/efk_dokumente/publikationen/_wirtschaft_und_verwaltung/wirtschaft_und_landwirtschaft/17425/17425BE_Endg%C3%BCltige_Fassung_V04.pdf)

Swiss set to ease arms export rules despite Syria grenades report | 3 September 2018 | Reuters

Switzerland looks set to loosen arms export rules to allow sales to countries embroiled in civil wars despite a newspaper report that Swiss-made hand grenades probably made their way into the hands of militants in Syria.

Defensa paraliza la venta de bombas a Arabia Saudí | 3 September 2018 | El Mundo

El Ministerio de Defensa ha decidido paralizar la venta de armamento a Arabia Saudí. En concreto, se trata de 400 bombas de precisión que podrían ser utilizadas para bombardear Yemen. El armamento pertenece al Ejército de Tierra.

Foreign Office minister defends Saudi arms sales after deadly bus strike | 4 September 2018 | Evening Express

As MPs returned to the Commons after summer recess, Mr Burt faced repeated calls to stop the sale of arms to Riyadh after the strike on August 9 which left at least 51 people, 40 of whom were children, dead. Mr Burt defended the UK’s position on arms sales, stating that Saudi Arabia was under attack from Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

Human rights groups cheer Spain for cancelling bombs sale to Saudi Arabia | 5 September 2018 | CBC

Interview with Alberto Estevez of Spain’s Arms Control Coalition.