Arms Trade Bulletin January – February 2020


Since ousting Gaddafi in 2011 Libya has succumbed into chaos. The country is since 2014/15 split into two factions: the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which enjoys UN recognition, and the Tobruk-based Libyan House of Representatives. Despite a UN arms embargo both sides receive material support from various countries.

The Libyan House of Representatives is backed by the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by general Khalifa Haftar. It consists of regular forces, salafist militias, tribal militias, Sudanese and Chadian militias, and Russian ‘mercenaries’. The LNA is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France. US-made Javelin missiles, which had been purchased by France, were found in the possession of the LNA. The French Minister of Defence has denied any wrongdoing by France. The Minister claimed the anti-tank weapons were handed to a French special forces unit for self-protection. The weapons had become damaged and therefore stored in a Libyan depot for subsequent destruction. (1) Recently it has been rumoured that Eritrea stepped into the fray by sending soldiers to back Haftar.

The GNA is backed by tribal militias, salafist and islamist militias, and receives support from Turkey, and to a lesser degree, Italy and Qatar. In January Turkey deployed soldiers and air defence systems to Libya. The Turkish government has also deployed elements from the Syrian National Army to Libya – its fighters having links to al-Qaeda, IS and other islamic terrorist groups and have been accused of serious human rights violations.

Following the failed negotiations between Fayez Sarraj (GNA) and Haftar on January 13 in Moscow, Germany organised a conference in Berlin on January 19. Invited to the Berlin Conference were the Governments of Algeria, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and High Representatives of the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and the League of Arab States. The meeting called for a cessation of all hostilities and an end to foreign intervention. Despite the various Parties committing themselves to respect the UN arms embargo and end all foreign interference, both factions continued to receive logistical support from abroad. It was reported that late January the UAE in a space of two weeks air-lifted 3,000 tonnes of equipment to the LNA, while Turkey had sent a ro-ro ship with equipment to the GNA (Maghreb Confidential #1371).

The war is also fought in the media. Each of the foreign backers accused the other of breaking the UN arms embargo. On February 24 the Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency claimed that since January 12 the UAE had transferred almost 6,200 tons of weapons to Haftar. The official LNA twitter account on February 18 claimed to have targeted a Turkish vessel off-loading weapons for the GNA. While the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper accused Saudi Arabia of sending ‘mercenaries’ to Libya without providing further details.

Mid-February the European Union foreign ministers agreed to resume monitoring the flow of arms by sea to enforce the internationally backed arms embargo on Libya. It is not sure if the maritime blockade will have any effect on arms supplies to Haftar who receives his armaments by air (UAE, Jordan) or overland (Egypt).

The main question will be if the EU member states will stop arming Turkey, UAE, Egypt, Qatar, or any other party involved in the Libyan conflict.

Peter Danssaert

(1) Compte rendu: Commission de la défense nationale et des forces armées — Audition de Mme Florence Parly, ministre des Armées, sur le rapport au Parlement 2019 sur les exportations d’armement, Assemblée nationale, 10 juillet 2019.


The new 2022 Edition of the Harmonized System has been accepted | 8 January 2020 | WCO

HS 2022, which is the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature used for the uniform classification of goods traded internationally all over the world, has been accepted by the all Contracting Parties to the Harmonized System Convention. It shall come into force on 1 January 2022… Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, also gain their own specific provisions to simplify the classification of these aircraft… Many new subheadings have been created for dual use goods that could be diverted for unauthorized use…


Analysis of the Draft Elements of a Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas | 6 February 2020 | Human Rights Watch

Elements of a political declaration to ensure the protection of civilians from humanitarian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas | Irish Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) welcome the draft circulated by Ireland on the elements of a forthcoming political declaration “to ensure the protection of civilians from humanitarian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas” (often referred to as EWIPA). It represents a strong starting point for an effective declaration.

U.K. Proposes to Limit Accountability for Violations by Armed Forces | 30 January 2020 | Just Security

The British government is considering unprecedented and comprehensive measures designed to shield both individual members of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) from legal scrutiny for historic alleged wrongdoing. The protections would apply in a manner likely inconsistent with the U.K.’s obligations under both international and domestic law.

State Department cable reveals new Trump policy expanding landmine use | 30 January 2020 | Vox

In yet another reversal of an Obama-era policy, President Donald Trump will allow the US military to again use landmines in conflicts around the world. According to an internal State Department cable obtained by Vox, Trump has rescinded former President Barack Obama’s 2014 directive to no longer “produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines,” known as APLs, which are small explosive devices placed under, on, or near the ground. The cable also lifts the Obama administration’s restriction on deploying landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula.

Exporte in den Krieg | 28 January 2020 | ECCHR | IPG

Das European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) hat eine Strafanzeige beim Internationalen Strafgerichtshof unter anderem gegen Rheinmetall und Airbus wegen Beihilfe zu Kriegsverbrechen im Jemen erhoben. Was genau werfen Sie den Unternehmen vor?

A Hard Sell? Arms Export Licensing and International Responsibility for Unlawful Arms Transfers – Part I | 23 January 2020 | Opinio Juris

Domestic licensing procedures implementing the international legal obligation to ban weapons transfers that are likely to provide assistance to serious violations of international law have failed to do so. States continue to sell weapons where there is a voluminous record attesting to the buyer’s structural inability to comply with key international legal principles, to their past record of serious violations of international law and thus to the eventuality that the arms sold will be used for the perpetuation of serious violations. What does it take, then, to bring about the revocation of such arms licenses, or hold to account the licensing authority or company benefiting therefrom? Thousands of arms are sold every day, but regrettably only spectacular conflicts, such as the one in Yemen, have helped bring some of the human consequences of such well-oiled supply chains to light.

Complicity in war crimes through (legal) arms supplies? | 20 January 2020 | EJIL: Talk!

German and other corporations whose arms were used in the war in Yemen have been accused of criminally assisting war crimes. The Berlin-based NGO European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a complaint (a “communication”) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) making this claim with regard to a series of multinational arms companies. But is a criminal complicity possible if exports are licensed by the competent national authorities as is at least the case in Germany?

Extraterritorial Obligations of Arms Exporting Corporations: New Communication to the ICC | 14 January 2020 |Opinio Juris

On 11 December 2019, ECCHR together with a group of NGOs – Mwatana (Yemen), Rete Disarmo (Italy), Centre Delàs (Spain), the Campaign Against Arms Trade (UK) and Amnesty International Secretariat – submitted a communication to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) urging for the opening of a preliminary examination into the conduct of several European companies supplying weapons to the Saudi/UAE-led coalition currently engaged in the armed conflict in Yemen. The communication alleges that fighter jets and other military equipment supplied by these companies were used in indiscriminate attacks against civilian objects since March 2015 which may have violated Articles 8(2)(c)(i), and 8(2)(e)(i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) of the Rome Statute of the ICC.


The Africa We Want! Here’s how to support the African Union’s goal of “Silencing the Guns” (pdf) | 25 February 2020 | IANSA

This paper examines how arms control and disarmament efforts can contribute to solving the multifaceted challenges of the African Union (AU) project called “Silencing the Guns”.

UAE sent 100 arms shipments to Haftar | 24 February 2020 | Anadolu Agency

In a statement, the media center of the government’s “Operation Volcano of Rage” said 100 flights have transferred almost 6,200 tons of weapons from the UAE to Haftar since Jan. 12.

Mali operating Paramount Marauders | 19 February 2020 | DefenceWeb

Mali’s armed forces are operating Marauder armoured personnel carriers delivered from Paramount as the country’s military expands its vehicle inventory.

Libya arms embargo is a joke, says UN envoy as ceasefire talks continue | 16 February 2020 | The Guardian

The UN-backed arms embargo in Libya has become a joke and the country’s financial position is deteriorating rapidly, the UN deputy special envoy for Libya, Stephanie Williams, has said after foreign ministers met in Munich to try to enforce a ceasefire between the two warring sides.

Where do Sahel terror groups get their heavy weapons? | 12 February 2020 | ISS Today | Daily Maverick

Terror attacks on military outposts in the Liptako-Gourma area where Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet are increasingly ambitious and complex. Their frequency and the damage inflicted on defence and security forces is worrying, and raises questions about where the terror groups are sourcing their heavy weapons.

Libya, DRC, Somalia, Sahel: Can the AU really Silence the Guns? 11 February 2020 | The Africa Report

African heads of state are at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia for the 33rd AU summit. The theme of the two-day summit is “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.” But a closer look at the conflict dynamics in Africa may cause anyone to question the AU’s capacity to silence the guns.

South Africa seeks to unlock stalled arms sales to Saudi, UAE | 8 February 2020 | Reuters

South Africa aims to free up over a billion dollars in stalled weapons sales, including to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, by amending a document at the heart of an export row, a senior arms control official told Reuters.

Africa and the ‘grey market’ | 7 February 2020 | Brian Wood & Peter Danssaert | Africa in Fact

Businesses and criminal syndicates have both violated United Nations arms embargoes, sometimes with the collusion of corrupt state officials

Opaque and difficult to quantify | 7 February 2020 | Sigrid Lipott | Africa in Fact

Africa has made some innovative interventions to reduce illicit small arms flows, despite a scarcity of data and challenges on several fronts

C.A.R. mulls arms, weapons purchase from Russia to boost security | 7 February 2020 | CGTN

The Central African Republic (C.A.R.) is considering obtaining Russian weapons and military equipment to boost its fight against armed militants, state-run TASS reports Russian Ambassador to the Central African Republic Vladimir Titorenko.

Silencing the guns | 6 February 2020 | Ernest Harsch | Africa in Fact

There’s been some progress towards ending wars on the continent, but 2020 was never a realistic goal for ending all conflicts

Top UN man says Libya is a “scandal” | 5 February 2020 | DefenceWeb

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the situation in Libya a “scandal” as his envoy cited a “genuine will” by rival military factions planning a first meeting to secure a lasting ceasefire.

Turkey deploys extremists to Libya, local militias say | 5 February 2020 | Associated Press

Syrian militants affiliated with groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group are currently being sent by Turkey to fight on behalf of the U.N.-supported government in Libya, according to two Libyan militia leaders and a Syrian war monitor.

Libya’s warlord uses gangs-for-hire, rogue mercenaries | 5 February 2020 | Anadolu Agency

Libya’s putschist commander Khalifa Haftar has dragged the country into a spiral of violence with his spiteful intention to capture the capital Tripoli. He makes up for lack of fighters by recruiting members from radical militias and criminal mercenaries in the region in the 10-month-long war that has marred the country.

US hands over military equipment to Tanzania | 5 February 2020 | DefenceWeb

The United States has handed over $18 million worth of equipment and training to the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) as part of its African Peacekeeping Rapid Reaction Programme (APRRP).

Armement : nouvelle claque de la France en Egypte | 4 February 2020 | La Tribune

Depuis la visite d’Emmanuel Macron en Egypte en janvier 2019, les mauvaises nouvelles pour l’industrie d’armement française se multiplient. Après ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), qui a vendu l’année dernière six frégates Meko A200, c’est au tour du partenaire stratégique de Naval Group, l’italien Fincantieri d’être très proche de vendre deux frégates multimissions (FREMM) à la marine égyptienne.

Milkor opening offices in India | 3 February 2020 | DefenceWeb

Milkor will be opening its new entity Milkor India this week to coincide with the DefExpo exhibition in New Delhi as the company expands its reach outside of South Africa.

Mali receives Streit Cougar APCs from the UAE | 3 February 2020 | DefenceWeb

Mali’s military has taken delivery of 30 Streit Cougar armoured personnel carriers (APCs) donated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They will be used to combat Islamist militants in the Sahel.

Airbus corrupted Ghanaian public officials between 2009 and 2015 – British court documents reveal | 2 February 2020 | Myjoyonline

Ghana is one of five countries in which the European aviation giant, Airbus, paid or attempted to pay millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for contracts, leading a court in Britain to slap a fine of £3 billion on the company.

Djibouti/Éthiopie : Guelleh accuse indirectement l’Égypte et l’Érythrée d’être responsable du trafic d’armes à destination de l’Éthiopie | 2 February 2020 | HCH24

Jeudi 30 janvier 2020, le Liyu police de la région somalie de l’Éthiopie a arrêté un pick-up bourré des armes des petits calibres. Ces pistolets TT et leurs étuis sont sortis du dépôt d’arme de la garde républicaine. Le commandant de la garde républicaine, le colonel Mohamed Djama Doualeh, avait fait des commandes d’armes en Europe de l’Est

National Conventional Arms Control Committee – handmaiden to human rights abuse? | 28 January 2020 | Open Secrets | The Daily Maverick

South Africa’s arms trade regulator has failed in its mandate to monitor the export of weapons to countries that, among other things, abuse human rights, or wage war against their own citizens. This begs the question, who will guard the guards themselves?

Protest in Khartoum against UAE firm recruiting Sudanese to fight in Libya and Yemen | 26 January 2020 | Sudan Tribune

Sudanese demonstrated in Khartoum on Sunday to protest against sending young Sudanese men by an Emirati company to Libya and Yemen after telling them they would serve as security guards in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Qatar ups meddling campaign in Africa | 26 January 2020 | Middle East Online

Qatar is investing in a military and defence alliance with Turkey to further its influence in Africa, where the Gulf nation continues to meddle in an effort to pressure its Arab rivals. The Qatari regime has moved from a policy of denying accusations of funding terrorism and insurgency movements in a number of African countries to a resumption of offensive penetration in an effort to restore influence.

Ukrainian jet victim ran company suspected by UN of violating Libyan arms embargo | 24 January 2020 | CNN

One of the passengers on the Ukrainian jet downed by Iranian missiles earlier this month was a businesswoman who was the boss of two companies cited in a UN report for links to the shadowy arms trade supplying the protracted civil war in Libya.

Why do EU arms end up in Libya despite UN ban? | 24 January 2020 | EU Observer

French arms sold to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) risk ending up in Libya, in violation of a UN ban. But if the war is one of “who dares wins”, then should EU states resort to realpolitik despite their code of good behaviour?

Libya: why enforcing an arms embargo is so hard | 24 January 2020 | The Conversation

A group of countries involved in the ongoing civil war in Libya agreed at a meeting in Berlin on January 19 to uphold a UN arms embargo and stop international meddling in the country’s conflict.

Malian forces unveil new vehicles and weapons | 23 January 2020 | Jane’s Defence Weekly

The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) displayed recently delivered vehicles during their 59th anniversary parade at the Kati military camp, the main base of the 3rd Military Region, on 20 January.

Burkina Faso to recruit and arm volunteers to protect communities from militants | 22 January 2020 | The DefensePost

Burkina Faso’s parliament on Tuesday, January 21 unanimously adopted a law allowing for the recruitment of Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP) – local volunteers who will act as auxiliaries in the fight against militants.

Auch deutsche Rüstungsexporte in Libyen gelandet | 22 January 2020 | Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk

In der “Berliner Erklärung” hatten sich mehr als zehn Staaten geeinigt, keine Waffen nach Libyen zu liefern. Zwar hatten die die Vereinten Nationen schon 2011 ein Waffenembargo verhängt, aber das wurde immer wieder gebrochen. Unter anderem von der Türkei, den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten oder Ägypten. Aber auch deutsches Millitärgerät ist in Lybien gelandet.

Armement : le Maroc achète un peu de “Made in France” mais énormément de “Made in USA” | 21 January 2020 | La Tribune

Les industriels français ont obtenu au Maroc quelques contrats d’armement, qui devraient être annoncés lors de la visite d’Emmanuel Macron les 12 et 13 février. Mais les industriels américains jouent clairement dans une autre galaxie à Rabat.

EU to revamp anti-smuggler mission for UN Libya arms embargo | 20 January 2020 | AP

European Union countries have agreed to “refocus” the mission of the bloc’s anti-migrant smuggler naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea so that it concentrates on upholding the U.N. arms embargo against Libya, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday.

Mali receives armoured vehicles from the UAE, EU | 20 January 2020 | DefenceWeb

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is supplying 30 Typhoon armoured vehicles to Mali’s military to improve its ability to fight growing insecurity in the region, with the first batch delivered last week. The European Union also just delivered another batch of Bastion vehicles to Mali’s armed forces.

World powers pledge to halt Libya weapon transfers | 19 January 2020 | Al Jazeera

The Berlin Conference on Libya: Conference Conclusions | 19 January 2020 | The Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government

Several foreign powers signed a landmark agreement to limit external interference in the war in Libya and to push the country’s warring factions towards a peaceful end to the fighting.

Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan (S/2020/36) (pdf) | 14 January 2020 | UN Security Council

The Panel of Experts on the Sudan has the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Council resolution 2455 (2019), the final report on its work.

Ukraine’s AutoKrAZ partners with Nigeria’s Proforce | 13 January 2020 | DefenceWeb

Ukraine’s AutoKraZ has signed an agreement with Nigeria’s Proforce Limited to jointly assemble military and civilian KrAZ trucks in Nigeria under the brand KrAZ-Proforce.

Ghana starts construction of new naval base | 9 January 2020 | DefenceWeb

Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has officially launched construction of the country’s new naval base with a sod-turning ceremony.


Stop Arming Repressive Regimes | 19 February 2020 | William Hartung | Forbes

Despite significant human rights laws already on the books, the United States continues to arm and enable repressive regimes around the world, with disastrous humanitarian and security impacts. It’s time for Congress to pass legislation that can change this dangerous and unacceptable status quo.

The Pentagon lost track of $715 million in weapons and gear funneled to anti-ISIS allies in Syria | 18 February 2020 | Task & Purpose

Audit of the DoD’s Accountability of Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund Equipment Designated for Syria DODIG-2020-061 | 13 February 2020 | Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Defense

The objective of this audit was to determine whether the DoD properly accounted for and stored Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund (CTEF) equipment designated for Syria (CTEF-S) from procurement through divestment (transfer of ownership and accountability from the DoD to the DoD-approved Vetted Syrian Opposition [VSO]) in accordance with guidance.

Firearms Trafficking in Honduras (pdf) | 16 February 2020 | InsightCrime

In Honduras, most homicides are committed using a firearm. This special investigation tracks how those weapons get into the hands of the killers that make this country one of the most murderous in the world.

Commerce Imposes Export Licensing Requirement On Geospatial Imagery Software | 13 February 2020 | Mondaq

Effective January 6, 2020, the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed new export controls on geospatial imagery software. Geospatial imagery software is used in such areas as self-driving vehicles, drone navigation, remote sensing, and analysis of earth imagery.

US awards major aircraft logistics contracts for Africa Command | 12 February 2020 | DefenceWeb

The United States Department of Defence has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of contracts to several companies to supply rotary wing logistics support to Africa Command.

Ukraine Says The US Is Holding Up $30M Worth Of Guns And Ammo — And It Wants Its Money Back | 6 February 2020 | BuzzFeed

At the heart of the impeachment saga that ended on Wednesday in Donald Trump’s acquittal was $391 million in US military assistance for Ukraine that the president ordered be withheld. But that aid package, which was eventually released last September, wasn’t the only US arms transfer meant for the war-torn country that was held up. Several direct commercial sales of arms and ammunition to Ukraine faced significant delays at the same time — and they remain mysteriously frozen months later, BuzzFeed News has learned. Now, after a lengthy wait and down payments in the tens of millions of dollars for the equipment, Kyiv wants its money back.

Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Small Arms and Light Weapons | 5 February 2020 | U.S. Mission to the United Nations

The United States remains fully committed to implementing this Program of Action, as well as the 2005 International Tracing Instrument. We have worked – and continue to work – side-by-side with other countries and international and regional organizations to combat the illicit small arms trade.

OFAC 2019 Year In Review (Part 1 of 3) | 5 February 2020 | Morrison & Foerster LLP | JD Supra

As we enter 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) may need time to catch its breath after an exceptionally busy year. 2019 showed us that the Trump Administration continues to rely on sanctions as a primary national security and foreign policy tool of choice, thrusting OFAC into an ever more active role to achieve the Administration’s objectives. To help you wrap your head around the stunning pace of OFAC’s activity, and to refresh your recollection of the year after too much holiday cheer, we are summarizing the significant U.S. sanctions developments of 2019 – including enforcement and designations statistics, programmatic changes, and major lessons gleaned from enforcement actions – in a three part series.

Global arms trade is a nearly 200 billion business and the US drives nearly 80% of it | 4 February 2020 | CNBC

The world spends nearly $3 trillion a year on military expenditures, and the United States drives the bulk of the globe’s weapons trade — about 79%, according to figures compiled by the U.S. State Department. The State Department’s World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers report published in December 2019 is the latest U.S. assessment of global military spending from 2007 to 2017.

Questions and answers: Strengthening Canada’s export control program | 28 January 2020 | Government of Canada

This document answers questions asked during the on-line and in-person consultations on strengthening Canada’s export controls. It is intended to provide further clarity on the new processes and obligations stemming from Canada’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The questions are grouped according to themes identified during the public consultations.

European Gun Makers Are Quietly Supplying the Mexican Drug Wars | 28 January 2020 | VICE

Mexican police might have thought they’d struck gold when a routine patrol back in October unearthed Ovidio Guzmán López, son of jailed drug kingpin El Chapo.

United States: Sanctions/Export Controls Trends In 2020 | 27 January 2020 | Foley Hoag LLP | Mondaq

Export controls and sanctions were a whirlwind of activity in 2019, and 2020 shows no signs of slowing down. In 2019, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued approximately 2,000 new designations of specific people or organizations subject to sanctions. And the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) increased its use of its Entity List to address corruption and human rights violations, with 185 new Entity List designations in 2019.

Amendment International Traffic in Arms Regulations: U.S. Munitions List Categories I, II, and III | 23 January 2020 |U.S. State Department | Federal Register

The Department of State (the Department) amends the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Categories I—firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns, II—guns and armament, and III—ammunition/ordnance of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles that provide a critical military or intelligence advantage or, in the case of weapons, perform an inherently military function and thus warrant export and temporary import control on the USML.

US Tech Transfer: First to China, Now to the Middle East | 20 January 2020 | The Globalist

The shortsightedness of the United States in allowing arms production facilities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE is unbelievable. One of the world’s gravest long-term security risks may involve the transfer of know-how related to sophisticated weapons systems to the Saudis and the UAE.

Trump administration paves the way to boost US firearms exports | 17 January 2020 | Al Jazeera

Firearms makers in the United States will be able within days to export as much as 20 percent more guns, including assault rifles and ammunition, under rules announced Friday by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Guatemalan government inaugurates first shipyard | 10 January 2020 | Jane’s Navy International

The Guatemalan government inaugurated on 3 January the country’s first shipyard, in the navy’s Caribbean base in Santo Tomas de Castilla, a port city in the Izabal department. The facilities will be used to provide maintenance for the Guatemalan Navy and construct new vessels.


The Philippine Economic Zone Authority eyes defense industrial complexes | 18 February 2020 | Business Mirror

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) is eyeing to transform several economic zones into defense industrial complexes that will allow the country to produce military equipment and weapons on its own.

Statement by Ambassador Wu Haitao at Security Council Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons | 5 February 2020 | Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN

The international security situation is complex and grave at present, with regional conflicts and hot spot issues popping up one after another. As stated by the Secretary General in his report, the illicit trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) aggravated regional armed conflicts, abetted violent extremist forces, terrorists, and organized crimes, and has been obstructing peace, security and development.

Letter dated 27 January 2020 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen addressed to the President of the Security Council – Final report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen (S/2020/70) | 27 January 2020 | UN Security Council

The members of the Panel of Experts on Yemen have the honour to transmit herewith the final report of the Panel, prepared in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 2456 (2019).

Jindal Defence partners with Taurus Armas for small arms manufacturing | 27 January 2020 | Outlook India

Jindal Defence on Monday said it has partnered with Brazil-based Taurus Armas to foray into small arms manufacturing in India. Both the companies have signed agreement to set up a joint venture firm at Hisar in Haryana. While Jindal Defence will hold 51 per cent equity stake, Taurus Armas would have the rest 49 per cent, the company said in a statement.

Australian Weapons Sales: Shrouded in Secrecy | 24 January 2020 | The Diplomat

In 2018, then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his aspirations for the country to become one of the world’s top 10 military equipment exporters within the next decade.

Bribery: The Driving Force Behind Middle Eastern Arms Sales | 22 January 2020 | The Globalist

We will never know the full details of all the Middle Eastern arms deals. They could well be rife with kick-backs and bribes to agents working for the Saudis and others. Our ignorance is the product of the total secrecy that governments in the region insist upon in all aspects of military procurement.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition: Murder and mayhem in Yemen | 22 January 2020 | Open Secrets | Daily Maverick

Companies with South African links have been allowed to supply Saudi Arabia and its allies with weapons — despite the humanitarian destruction the war in Yemen has wrought.

Australia urged to stop selling weapons to countries accused of war crimes | 15 January 2020 | The Guardian

Human rights groups say it is “unthinkable” that Australia has been secretly exporting arms to the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries whose militaries have been consistently accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

China Publishes Draft Export Control Law | 14 January 2020 | WilmerHale LLP | JDSupra

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress published the Draft Export Control Law 《中华人民共和国出口管制法(草案)》(Draft ECL) on December 28, 2019,1 with comments due by January 26, 2020. The Draft ECL, if enacted in its current form, would be China’s first omnibus national legislation regulating export controls. It appears to be drafted at least in part to give China statutory authority to counter US export control measures targeting China.

Israeli court to hear Amnesty bid to revoke NSO export license | 14 January 2020 | CNA

Amnesty International will ask an Israeli court on Thursday to order Israel to revoke the export licence of NSO Group, whose software is alleged to have been used by governments to spy on journalists and dissidents.

‘Blanket secrecy’ surrounds Australian weapons sales to countries accused of war crimes | 13 January 2020 | The Guardian

Australian companies are selling weapons and military technology to countries around the world accused of war crimes, but the Australian government has refused to say what weapons are being sent overseas and to whom.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to establish industrial estate for Darra arms trade | 12 January 2020 | Tribune

To regularise the illegal gun and ammunition manufacturing units in Darra Adamkhel town, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has decided to establish the Small Industrial Estate (SIE) for arms in the area.

Indian Army to sign MoU for elite AK-203 assault rifles | 6 January 2020 | Army Technology

The Indian Army is reportedly planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to procure more than 750,000 elite AK-203 assault rifles.


Airbus Settlement: Part 5 – The UK Judgment on the DPA | 7 February 2020 | JD Supra

Airbus Settlement: Part 4 – Alphabet Agency Violations (Export Control and Export Finance) | 6 February 2020 | JD Supra

Airbus Settlement: Part 3 – The Bribery Schemes | 5 February 2020 | JD Supra

Airbus Settlement: Part 2 – The Paper Compliance Program | 5 February 2020 | JD Supra

Airbus Settlement: Part 1 – Introduction | 3 February 2020 | JD Supra

Last week, Airbus SE (Airbus) settled a long-standing corruption scandal by agreeing to enforcement actions in three countries; France, the United Kingdom and the US. The matter involved a massive, worldwide, long running bribery and corruption scheme, approved at the highest levels of the organization and perpetrated in at least 10 different countries. It also became the highest amount ever assessed against an organization for international bribery and corruption, approximately $3.9 billion. Although limited to one industry, aerospace, the matter eclipsed Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) as the world’s most expansive bribery scandal. Over the next several blog posts I will be exploring the enforcement actions. Today, I begin with an overview.

La Wallonie ne vendra plus d’armes à l’armée de l’air saoudienne | 6 February 2020 | L’Echo

Après une année 2018 record et 950 millions de ventes d’armes à l’étranger, dont 225 millions vers l’Arabie saoudite, la Wallonie a décidé de ne plus accorder de licence à l’armée de l’air saoudienne.

ALPC : il est nécessaire que les Etats membres respectent les embargos | 5 February 2020 | Représentation permanente de la France auprès des Nations unies

La prolifération et le commerce illicite des armes légères et de petit calibre (ALPC) constituent une grave menace à la paix et à la sécurité internationale. Ces armes font, de loin, le plus de victimes, en moyenne plus d’un demi-million de victimes par an dans le monde. Les enjeux et les défis posés par ces armes sont parmi les plus partagés par toutes les régions du monde.

CAAT lawyers question legality of Saudi arms ship due to dock in UK | 5 February 2020 | CAAT | ICN

Lawyers from Leigh Day, representing Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), have written to the Government Legal Department seeking clarification as to the licence under which a Saudi vessel will be allowed to enter and subsequently leave the UK following its expected arrival today.

17 ONG réclament la vérité sur le passage en France du cargo saoudien Bahri Yanbu et sur la nature de sa cargaison | 5 February 2020 | FIDH

Le cargo saoudien Bahri Yanbu doit arriver jeudi 6 février à Cherbourg, dans le cadre d’une tournée européenne au cours de laquelle il doit également faire escale à Sheerness (Royaume-Uni) et Gênes (Italie), avant de repartir en Egypte et en Arabie saoudite, selon l’armateur.

Geheimsache Rüstungsexporte | 4 February 2020 | Frankfurter Rundschau

Die Bundesregierung macht keine Angaben mehr zu Waffenexporten in die Türkei. Die Linke will dagegen klagen. Das Bundeswirtschaftsministerium hat Waffenlieferungen in die Türkei erstmals als Geheimsache eingestuft. „Die Bundesregierung ist (…) nach sorgfältiger Abwägung zu der Auffassung gelangt, dass die erbetenen Auskünfte zum Schutz von Betriebs- und Geschäftsgeheimnissen geheimhaltungsbedürftig sind“, heißt es Ende Januar in einer Antwort des Bundeswirtschaftsministeriums auf eine Anfrage der Linken im Bundestag, die dem Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) vorliegt.

Between Confidentiality and Transparency: Arbitration and Arms Transfers | 4 February 2020 | International Policy Digest

The sales of military equipment is a global industry known for its high degree of secrecy. After all, armed forces do not want potential adversaries to know what kind of equipment they are buying, the technical aspects of said systems, how many systems/platforms are being acquired and other details about military equipment that could jeopardize national security. Similarly, arbitration is meant to be confidential, that is what makes this legal process more attractive to clients than going to courts of law, which will make rulings public.

Saudi Arms Ship Faces Growing Opposition in European Ports | 3 February 2020 | Hellenic Shipping News

Lawsuits, protests and other actions are planned in several European ports to oppose this week’s return of a Saudi Arabian state-owned cargo ship that has previously ferried tens of millions of dollars’ worth of arms to fuel its war in Yemen, Amnesty International said.

Franco-German Initiative on the Fight against Firearms Trafficking in the Western Balkans | 3 February 2020 | French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

France has stepped up its international action in the fight against illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons (SALW) following the terrorist attacks on its national territory in 2015. In particular, it chaired the Third Review Conference of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, held in New York from 18 to 29 June 2018.

Airbus Agrees to Pay over $3.9 Billion in Global Penalties to Resolve Foreign Bribery and ITAR Case | 31 January 2020 | Department of Justice

Aerospace Company Settles Charges for Global Foreign Bribery Scheme | 31 January 2020 | Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP

Airbus SE (Airbus or the Company), a global provider of civilian and military aircraft based in France, has agreed to pay combined penalties of more than $3.9 billion to resolve foreign bribery charges with authorities in the United States, France and the United Kingdom arising out of the Company’s scheme to use third-party business partners to bribe government officials, as well as non-governmental airline executives, around the world and to resolve the Company’s violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), in the United States. This is the largest global foreign bribery resolution to date.

Working together to stop illegal arms trade in the Western Balkans | 29 January 2020 | Auswärtiges Amt

The impact of years of civil wars in the Western Balkan region can still be felt to this day, with up to six million small arms still in circulation. Germany and France have launched an initiative to curb the illegal arms trade and to bring arms under control.

Margaret Thatcher’s secret dealings with the Argentine military junta that invaded the Falklands | 29 January 2020 |Daily Maverick

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is often lauded in the UK for standing up to the Argentine military junta during the Falklands War, but declassified British documents show that her government had far more cordial relations with this regime than her wartime rhetoric suggests.

Three NGOs take arms export decision to court | 25 January 2020 | The Brussels Times

Three Belgian non-governmental organisations have taken the federal government, and federal finance minister Alexander De Croo, to court in Brussels looking to prevent the export of Belgian arms to Saudi Arabia, Knack reports.

OSCE expands its support to Ukraine in combating illicit trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives | 21 January 2020 | OSCE

The OSCE today expanded its support to Ukraine in strengthening its response to the illicit trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives, with the launch of another two extra-budgetary projects. Some 50 representatives of Ukrainian governmental agencies and the donor community participated in the projects’ first Programme Governance Board meeting today in Kyiv, which marked the beginning of the OSCE’s multi-year assistance to the Ukrainian authorities in this area.

Russia to ship first Pantsir-S1 air defense systems to Serbia in late February | 20 January 2020 | TASS

The first shipments of Russia’s Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems to Serbia will commence in late February this year, a source in the military-industrial complex told TASS.

Control issues: The UK’s defence procurement woes | 14 January 2020 | European Council on Foreign Relations

Following Boris Johnson’s victory in the December 2019 UK general election, Downing Street lost no time in briefing that the first Whitehall target of its reforming zeal would be the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Specifically, the focus will be on the MoD’s long tradition of procurement disasters – runaway budgets and massive delays on equipment programmes – with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers as exhibit A.

Arms to Saudis corruption scheme in Spain ‘netted $100 million’ | 14 January 2020 | Euro Weekly News

Prosecutors in Spain are asking for jail sentences of up to 29 years for eight people implicated in a €100 million arms sales to Saudi Arabia corruption scandal.

RUAG Splits Into Two Separate Aerospace and Defense Firms | 13 January 2020 | Defence & Security Monitor |Forecast International

RUAG is capping off a dramatic change that has split the company into two independent firms, one focused on supporting the Swiss military and the other on commercial aerospace.

FN Herstal: l’industrie française de l’armement abattue par un fusil belge? | 10 January 2020 | Sputnik News

Les tireurs de précision de l’armée française sont sur le point de recevoir le SCAR, de FN Herstal, un fusil germano-belge. Un coup dur de plus pour l’industrie de l’armement léger en France, incapable de s’adapter aux contraintes de ce marché particulier. Le député Joachim Son-Forget, membre de la Commission de la Défense, nous les a expliquées.

The BND Files – German Shipping Companies and the Arms Trade | 10 January 2020 | DW Documentary

Germany’s secret service, the BND, is heavily involved in the delivery of weapons to crisis areas of the world. As this documentary shows, it has – among other things – played along with arms deals made by German shipping companies.