Pompeo covers up US failure to address Yemen civilian casualties from US munitions exports
On the 11th August 2020 the Department of State Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its report on the investigation into Secretary Pompeo’s May 24, 2019 emergency determination made under the Arms Export Control Act for the sale or transfer of over $8.1 billion in defence articles and services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Jordan. According to the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee the Department of State had insisted that the OIG could only release a redacted version of the report. An unredacted version was leaked to Politico.
In its report the OIG pointed out that the Saudi-led air campaign has attracted international criticism because of the continued high rates of civilian casualties. The September 2020 report of the United Nations Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen concluded “that the parties to the conflict continue to show no regard for international law or the lives, dignity, and rights of people in Yemen, while third states have helped to perpetuate the conflict by continuing to supply the parties with weapons” (A/HRC/45/6). (See also the legal opinion by E. David, D. Turp, B. Wood, et al.) The OIG assert that some of the precision-guided munitions “used in each of these airstrikes may have been manufactured by U.S. defense firms” and thus “subject to the Department’s arms transfer review process” (1). The OIG concluded “that the Department did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer of precision-guided munitions included in the May 2019 emergency certification”.
The OIG’s assessment is contained in a heavily-redacted secret annex of the report to Congress. In the cover letter of the report the acting Inspector General informed Congress that the Department of State “withheld significant information in the classified annex necessary to understand OIG’s finding and recommendation” in relation to the Department of State’s failure to minimize civilian casualties. The acting Inspector General continued by stating that the Department of State “asserted that the redactions made to the classified annex should be withheld from Congress because the underlying information implicates ‘executive branch confidentiality interests, including executive privilege’”.
The continued actions of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including the air strikes on civilian targets with precision-guided munitions, has prompted Republicans and Democrats in Congress to keep closer watch on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In November 2015 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had been able to delay the transfer of precision-guided munitions. In April 2016 Democrats and Republicans introduced joint resolutions in the House and Senate to place conditions on the sale of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia. This was followed in September 2016 by two joint resolutions of disapproval, in the Senate and the House, for proposed sales of Abrams tanks by the Obama administration. Following the bombing of a funeral hall in October 2016, which killed over 100 civilians, the Obama administration postponed the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia in December of that year.
In May 2017 President Trump announced that his administration would go ahead with the sale of precision-guided munitions which had been postponed by Obama. This was followed by the introduction in the Senate of a joint resolution relating to the disapproval of a proposed export of precision-guided munitions. Heated Congressional debates on continued U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition continued in 2018 and 2019. CNN dropped a bombshell with a February 2019 report in which they accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of having “transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States”. The end use monitoring of U.S. supplied equipment was (briefly) discussed February 6 in a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (2)
In May 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo determined that an ‘emergency’ existed under Section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). By this action he waived the congressional review requirements for 22 arms transfer cases, with a total value of $8.1 billion, to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. To justify these transfers Pompeo claimed an ‘urgent threat’ from Iran. Congress was quick to react. Abipartisan group of senators introduced “22 separate joint resolutions of disapproval to protect and reaffirm Congress’ role in approving arms sales to foreign governments” (3). Only three of these joint resolutions (S.J.Res.36, S.J.Res.37 and S.J.Res.38) passed the Senate and the House, but were vetoed by President Trump.
The ‘emergency’ declaration was questioned by members of both parties in Congress “who worried that Trump’s decision to blow through the review process would eliminate Congress’ ability to prevent not just Trump but future presidents from selling weapons where they liked”. In June 2019 the House Committee on Foreign Affairs convened a hearing titled “What Emergency?: Arms Sales and the Administration’s Dubious End-Run Around Congress” (Serial No. 116-46) to discuss the matter. A Congressional insider told Politico that “the concern all along was that Pompeo concocted the emergency to bypass Congress. A few key details in the [OIG] report verify that, and those are the details State tried to bury. It looks like a coverup”. Even the conservative National Interest was not convinced of ,the nature of the ‘emergency’: “The procedural timeline described in the IG report belies the notion that the arms transfer involved was a matter of urgency. The use of an emergency exception was first proposed inside the [State] Department on April 3. The emergency certification was drafted on April 23. The certification was transmitted to Congress on May 24. Some entire wars have been fought during that much time”. The OIG did not assess if a true ‘emergency’ existed. They only “determined that the Secretary’s emergency certification was executed in accordance with the requirements of the AECA”.
The OIG report was released by the acting Inspector General because Steve Linick, the Inspector General who initiated the investigation, had been fired by the Secretary of State Pompeo. Linick was also responsible for an ongoing investigation into the misappropriation of State Department funds by Pompeo and his wife for personal reasons. Linick was replaced by Stephen Akard, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence. Akard resigned early August shortly before the release of the OIG report.
- How the Congressional review process works see: “Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process”, Congressional Research Service, 17 July 2020.
- See also the “Hearing to Receive Testimony on the United States Central Command in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2020 and the Future Years Defense Program”, Senate Armed Services Committee, 5 February 2019.
- For a full overview of the joint resolutions S.J.Res.27 to S.J.Res.48 (116th Congress) see here:https://www.congress.gov/member/robert-menendez/M000639?q=%7B%22congress%22%3A%22116%22%2C%22bill-status%22%3A%22passed-one%22%2C%22subject%22%3A%22International+Affairs%22%7D
INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
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The Arms Trade Treaty: Obligations to Prevent the Diversion of Conventional Arms | 23 June 2020 | UNIDIR
States Parties to the ATT have accepted particular obligations to prevent, detect and eradicate the diversion of conventional arms transfers. However, the absence of a definition of ‘diversion’ makes the interpretation and implementation of ATT measures to address diversion difficult. This paper analyzes the inter-locking provisions of the ATT and other relevant instruments, providing key elements to guide the formulation of a general description of the diversion of arms transfers for the purposes of implementing the ATT.
Seriti report slammed by Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations | 20 August 2020 | Mail & Guardian
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US donates Mamba vehicles to Niger | 18 August 2020 | DefenceWeb
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CAR: Security Council renews but relaxes arms embargo | 29 July 2020 | The North Africa Post
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France, Germany, Italy threaten sanctions over arms for Libya | 20 July 2020 | DefenceWeb
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Niger receives Mi-171Sh helicopters | 13 July 2020 | DefenceWeb
Niger has apparently taken delivery of two armed Mi-171Sh helicopters after ordering the aircraft for some $47 million.
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Major U.S. Sanctions and Trade Restrictions Lists | 21 August 2020 | King & Wood Mallesons | China Law Insight
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House and Senate Chart Different Courses on US Clandestine Support of Foreign Militias | 20 August 2020 | Just Security
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So much wrongdoing to inspect, so little support from above in inspecting it. That seems to be the plight of inspectors general throughout the federal government during Donald Trump’s presidency. The most recent newsworthy plight is at the State Department, where Secretary Mike Pompeo has burned through two inspector generals (IGs) during the past three months amid issues embarrassing to the secretary.
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Congressman accuses State Department official of lying about weapons sales | 12 August 2020 | Politico
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U.S. Policy on the Export of Unmanned Aerial Systems | 9 August 2020 | SUAS News
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Firearms exports to Brazil surge as gun ownership increases under Bolsonaro | 31 July 2020 | The Guardian
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Italian firm opening $15M ammunition plant in Little Rock | 29 July 2020 | KAIT8
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US revises policy for export of unmanned aircraft | 27 July 2020 | Janes
The United States has changed its policy on the export of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), recategorising some of the most restricted platforms to make them easier to sell to international customers.
GOP coronavirus bill includes at least $7 billion for weapons programs | 27 July 2020 | Defense News
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US approves $7.5 billion in foreign weapons sales in one day | 7 July 2020 | Defense News
It was a happy Independence Day for American defense companies, with the U.S. State Department announcing Monday it has approved almost $7.5 billion in potential foreign military sales to five different countries.
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British soldier says UK has Yemeni ‘blood on its hands’ over Saudi arms sales | 26 August 2020 | Middle East Eye
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U.S.-made weapons sold to the Saudis are fueling civilian deaths in Yemen | 24 August 2020 | Los Angeles Times
In December 2016, President Obama restricted the sale of American arms to Saudi Arabia, citing concerns about the widespread killings of civilians in the brutal war in Yemen. He should have done it much earlier.
Belgium Suspends Arms Exports To Saudi Arabia As Yemen Crisis Worsens | 24 August 2020 | The Organization for World Peace
On August 7th, human rights groups across the world celebrated as Belgium confirmed that it will halt weapons exportations to Saudi Arabia’s National Guard (SANG). This announcement came following an injunction made by Belgium’s top legal authority, the Council of State, who formally suspended arms export licenses for shipments to SANG.
Armes iraniennes, conflit yéménite, trafiquants somaliens | 23 August 2020 | Illicit Trade News Network
Les armes iraniennes utilisées lors du conflit Yéménite sont actuellement exportées vers l’Afrique de l’est et notamment la Somalie. Un groupe de surveillance du crime organisé a tiré la sonnette d’alarme ; les armes iraniennes et leurs munitions sont revendues au marché noir. Les armes avaient été envoyées au rebelles Houthis par Téhéran. Désormais ces armes iraniennes se retrouvent sur les marchés d’Afrique de l’est. Le groupe de surveillance qui a révélé ce problème est l’Initiative Globale Contre le Crime Transnational Organisé.
Turkey must move to ‘next level’ in defence production, says Erdoğan | 23 August 2020 | Ahval
It is time for Turkey to move to the “next level’’ in the defence industry and produce multiple aircraft carriers, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday, citing obligations brought on by regional conflicts surrounding the country.
List of weapon systems Pakistan is buying from China for intensifying two-front war | 22 August 2020 | Defence Aviation Post
China and Pakistan, the all-weather friends, have been intensifying their two-front war against India. In its latest ploy, Pakistan is purchasing over 20 weapon systems from China at bargain prices. The Indian agencies believe the weapons will be used to build up pressure against India across the LoC when things heat up with Beijing at the LAC.
Turkey hires U.S. lobbyists to break Congress’s de facto arms embargo | 19 August 2020 | Ahval
Congressional leaders have blocked major U.S. arms sales to Turkey for almost two years in response to Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems, which the United States says threatens the F-35 fighter jet’s stealth capabilities. Turkey was subsequently ejected from the joint F-35 programme.
China will firmly support purpose, objective of Arms Trade Treaty | 18 August 2020 | Xinhua
“China has always taken a prudent and responsible approach and exercised strict control on its arms export,” said Li Song, China’s ambassador for disarmament affairs, adding a full-fledged policy and legislative system of export control on conventional arms has been established in the country.
India Ban on $47 Billion Arms Imports Sowing Uncertainty | 17 August 2020 | Bloomberg
India’s move to ban the import of certain weapon systems will do little to boost local manufacturing and is sowing uncertainty at a time when the South Asian nation is trying to ramp up defenses on its restive borders with China and Pakistan, according to analysts.
Indigenous airborne munitions dispenser can paralyze airfield in one shot | 16 August 2020 | Global Times
China has revealed a type of domestically developed airborne munitions dispenser, a hybrid weapon that lies between an air-to-ground missile and a guided bomb droppable by an aircraft from a safe distance, that can release hundreds of submunitions that cover a large area. This kind of weapon can effectively paralyze an airfield in one shot, leaving enemy warplanes grounded or destroyed, experts said on Sunday.
BMC delivers Vuran armoured vehicles for Turkish Armed Forces | 7 August 2020 | Army-Technology
Turkey-based defence contractor BMC has delivered a new batch of Vuran 4×4 tactical wheeled multi-purpose armoured vehicles (MPAV) for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Proposed MoD policy aims to double India’s defence production in 5 years | 4 August 2020 | Business Standard
The new policy backtracks significantly from the draft DPrP 2018, which aimed at catapulting India into the world’s top five defence producers. Combining multiple announcements (that) were made under Atmanirbhar Bharat package into a single policy document, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday released a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020) for public consultation and comments.
China’s Trade Controls: The Evolution & Development | 29 July 2020 | FTI Consulting | JD Supra
In recent years, China has planned to introduce its export control law, which aims to consolidate and streamline its numerous but discrete export control legislation. Currently, China has no export control enforcement because its export control law is still in draft phase, so there is no requirement for there to be export control compliance work in practice. In fact, many violations are currently occurring out of this misunderstanding of the existing regulations.
India-Indonesia: Expanding cooperation to include defence industry | 29 July 2020 | The Dispatch
While defence cooperation has garnered most bilateral attention, there is still greater scope for exploration in this domain, particularly as it pertains to defence industry. This will in turn aid greater synchronicity on the Indo-Pacific.
Pakistan Gets First Indigenously Developed ‘Al Khalid’ Main Battle Tank | 29 July 2020 | Eurasian Times
Islamabad’s joint venture with China and Ukraine was given to the Armored Corps Regiment of Pakistan Army at a ceremony at Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT)-a state-run defence manufacturer.
Vietnam army unveils PTH85-VN18 self-propelled gun | 29 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Vietnamese People’s Army newspaper recently published a report including the first public appearance of the wheeled self-propelled artillery system designated PTH85-VN18, integrated by the Z751 factory.
Erdogan’s goal to end Turkish dependency on foreign suppliers to build weapons ‘in no way realistic’ | 28 July 2020 | bne IntelIiNews
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stated goal to end all of Turkey’s dependency on foreign suppliers for building weapons by the country’s centenary in 2023 is in no way realistic, Forbes has reported, adding that hitting the target by the end of the decade also looked infeasible.
UAE reveals export controls list | 28 July 2020 | Janes
The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) export control authority, the Committee for Goods and Materials Subject to Import and Export Control, has released a list approved by the UAE Cabinet of equipment subject to export control restrictions.
Uzbekistan begins upgrading its T-64 MBTs | 28 July 2020 | Janes
The Uzbek army has begun upgrading its fleet of T-64 main battle tanks (MBTs) to the T-64MV standard following a series of successful user trials, the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Defense Industry said in a 23 July statement.
Guns and Money: The British-Saudi Revolving Door | 27 July 2020 | Byline Times
Just a week after the Government announced it was resuming arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the committee which oversees business appointments for former ministers (ACOBA), quietly revealed that the ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond will take up a job with the Kingdom’s finance minister.
Two new assault rifles of Israel’s IWI to be made in India | 26 July 2020 | Israel Defense
The rifles will be manufactured under the Make in India initiative in Madhya Pradesh by joint venture PLR Systems, which is already producing Israeli arms like the Tavor.
India shows interest to acquire Russian 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 self-propelled anti-tank tracked arrmored | 26 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
According to information released by the Russian Press Agency on July 25, 2020, India might target a potential acquisition of the Russian-made 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 125 mm self-propelled anti-tank gun (SPATG).
Uzbek company produces Tarlon and Ejder Yalçın 4×4 armored vehicles | 24 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
On July 21, 2020, the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Defense Industry announced that local company Kran Va Maxsus Texnikala LLC in Tashkent is starting production of a 4×4 light armored vehicle called Tarlon, Live Journal reports.
Europe’s Compromise Solutions on Arms Embargo Rejected | 24 July 2020 | Financial Tribune
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the European countries’ offers of compromise on the complete removal of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran as required by the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Letter dated 24 July 2020 from the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General | 24 July 2020 | UN Security Council
I am writing to you regarding the allegations made during the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on 21 July 2020, by the representatives of the Israeli regime and the United States of America against the Islamic Republic of Iran and their call for the imposition of an arms embargo against my country in violation of resolution 2231 (2015) of the Council.
After Pakistan’s Gwadar port, China fast-tracks key defence projects in Bangladesh | 23 July 2020 | India Post
For Chinese Ambassador in Bangladesh, Li Jiming, bringing Chinese companies to Dhaka is not the only priority. His ostensible goal seems to be expediting several key projects, including the ultra-modern submarine base project, BNS Sheikh Hasina, in Pekua, Cox’s Bazar. China has already delivered two submarines to Bangladesh Navy in its desperate bid to expand its footprints in the Indian sub-continent.
Britain selling £14m helicopters to Philippines government despite ‘human rights abuse’ | 18 July 2020 | The Mirror
The UK government has agreed to flog two £28million Wildcat choppers to the Philippines government is the latest shameful chapter in a trade that nets us £14billion a year.
India reports possible purchase of Caracal CAR 816 carbines made in UAE | 17 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
According to information released by The Print website on July 15, 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council of India could soon take the decision to acquire new Close Quarter Battle (CQB) carbines CAR 816 manufactured by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) firearms company Caracal which is now part of EDGE, advanced technology group of UAE.
Royal Thai army takes delivery of new Black Widow Spider 8×8 armored vehicle for trial tests | 17 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
According to information released by the Asian Military Review on July 17, 2020, the Royal Thai Army has taken delivery of the Black Widow Spider 8×8 armored vehicle developed by Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI). The new vehicle will be tested for one year by the Thai armed forces.
Indonesian PT Pindad unveils Maung 4×4 light tactical vehicle | 17 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
PT Pindad (Persero) officially introduced the latest product in the tactical vehicle segment (Rantis), Defence Studies reports. This time, the product created by the SOE is a bit little different from usual. Abraham Moses, President Director of PT Pindad (Persero), said that the Rantis, named Maung, does indeed have differences. The concept leads to lightweight Rantis that can be used on highways or off-road terrain.
Colombian army studies to upgrade M1117 4×4 armored vehicles with Belgian John Cockerill CSE 90LP turret | 16 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Colombian Army studies the possibility to integrate the Belgian turret John Cockerill CSE 90LP on M1117 4×4 armored vehicle manufactured by the American Company Textron Marine & Land Systems, the vehicle is named Pegaso by the Colombian army.
Indian Army plans to buy CQB carbines and bulletproof helmets | 16 July 2020 | Army Technology
The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) is reportedly planning to buy new close quarter battle (CQB) carbines. The weapon is expected to be purchased from UAE-based Caracal International, which was declared as the lowest bidder for the army’s Fast Track Procurement (FTP) in 2018.
Australian army buys more Thales EF88 assault rifles | 15 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Australian Government will buy 8,500 Enhanced F88 (EF88) assault rifles. The Australian-made weapon will add to the 30,000 units that will be delivered by Thales Australia to the Australian Defence Force. Australia is procuring these systems under the Soldier Modernisation Program’s lethality element.
Indian Army to Acquire 72,000 Sig Sauer 716 Assault Rifles | 15 July 2020 | The National Interest
Indian Army will buy 72,000 additional SIG Sauer SIG716G2 assault rifles | 14 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Indian Army is doubling down on its order of SIG 715 model rifles, chambered in 7.62mm NATO. After announcing a deal last year to purchase 72,400 rifles made by New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer, this week India has announced it would purchase another 72,000.
Alleged breaches of international law by Saudi forces in Yemen exceed 500 | 13 July 2020 | The Guardian
The Ministry of Defence has revealed it has logged more than 500 Saudi air raids in possible breach of international law in Yemen, even though last week it justified resuming arms sales to Riyadh on the basis that only isolated incidents without any pattern have occurred. The trade minister, Greg Hands, answering an urgent question in the Commons on last week’s resumption of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, refused to say how many bombing incidents had been reviewed by the UK before it agreed to grant UK arms export licences again.
Iraq unveils indigenous T-55 Al-Kafil-1 MBT main battle tank | 13 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
Caesar @Ninja998998’s Twitter account shows a piece of information based on @AndreiBtvt’s Twitter account revealing the existence of a new main battle tank manufactured in Iraq and designated T-55 Al-Kafil-1.
Indian army receives newly produced Maruti Gypsy 4×4 vehicles | 10 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
In June 2019, Army Recognition reported that Maruti Suzuki India finally discontinued the Gypsy production on April 1, 2019. It was first launched in 1985. However, the Indian army needs 3,051 more units, which imposes briefly restarting its production.
New Zealand Army takes delivery of 6 Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicles | 10 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
According to an article published in New Zealand Army News magazine Issue 513, June 2020, New Zealand Army has taken delivery of six Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicles as a part of the Protected Mobility Capability Project. The MRZR 4 is a highly mobile, multi-configurable, off-road vehicle from MRZR range of vehicles developed by Polaris Industries.
New Zealand army to receive 43 Thales Bushmaster Protected Vehicles | 9 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
New Zealand’s Defence Minister Ron Mark announced on July 8 that the government has approved the NZD102.9 million (USD67.5 million) procurement of 43 Thales Australia Bushmaster 4×4 Protected Mobility Vehicles to replace the armored Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles.
China’s Draft Export Control Law Submitted for Second Review (pdf) | 9 July 2020 | Covington & Burling LLP
China has published a near-final draft of a new Export Control Law that, if enacted as drafted, would build upon China’s existing export control regulations, which are scattered across multiple laws, administrative regulations, and implementation rules, with the goal of creating a unified export control system to promote China’s commitment to nonproliferation and national security interests. Notably, the new draft retains the key features of the earlier drafts and would make the Export Control Law apply extraterritorially.
UN Ban On Iran Arms Transfers | 8 July 2020 | Eurasia Review
A 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA), provides for limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The accord, endorsed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 (July 17, 2015), contains an annex (Annex B) that provides for a ban on the transfer of arms to or from Iran until October 18, 2020.
India clears purchase of Russian combat jets worth $2.4 billion | 2 July 2020 | Reuters
India’s government on Thursday approved the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to another 59 planes, acting to beef up its air force at a time when the military is locked in a border stand-off with China.
Saudi General Directorate of Border Guard and Military Industries Corporation to manufacture armored vehicles | 2 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
According to Arab News, an agreement to locally manufacture armored military vehicles has been signed between the Saudi General Directorate of Border Guard and the Military Industries Corporation (MIC).
Vietnam unveils STV-410 7.62x39mm assault rifle | 2 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
On its Facebook page, VietDefense reports that Factory Z111 and the General Department of Defense Industry developed a new rifle that resembles a Kalashnikov. It’s designated STV-410 7.62x39mm assault rifle. It can be considered the Vietnamese version of an AK-15.
Iran: IRGC unveils new armored personnel carriers and upgraded T-72M main battle tank | 1 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
In a ceremony held on June 27, The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Major General Hossein Salami unveiled new homegrown products manufactured by the Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization of the IRGC Ground Force, as reported by Tasnim news agency and BMPD. There were several products: a BTR-50PK Makran APC, an upgraded BTR-60PB APC, an upgraded T-72M MBT, a Me’raj-1 reconnaissance drone, a So’ban-1 machine gun and a mine detecting radar. In this piece of news, we are focusing on the APCs and the T-72M.
Revisiting International Cooperation on Illicit Trafficking by Sea: Indonesia and the Final Voyage of the M/V Wise Honest (Part I) (Part II) | 23 June 2020 | OpinioJuris.org
The M/V Wise Honest (IMO 8905490) was, since 17 November 2016, a North Korean owned and flagged cargo ship engaged in numerous violations of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, notably illicit shipments of coal from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and heavy equipment to DPRK (paras. 21-27). In March 2018, she left Nampo (DPRK) for Indonesia’s territorial sea, laden with 25,000 tons of coal worth a reported USD $2,990,000 (Annex 17). Therein, she intended to conduct a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer to a Russian cargo ship – the coal’s eventual customer being South Korean (para. 35). That conspiracy ended abruptly on 2 April 2018 when Indonesian authorities intercepted and detained the M/V Wise Honest following a tip-off from the USA.
British military providing training to repressive regimes from Belarus to Bahrain, records show | 28 August 2020 | Inews
A list of countries receiving training from UK armed forces since 2018 includes 17 nations formally designated by the British government as “human rights priority countries”, where there is particular concern about repression or other abuses.
UK: New human rights-related sanctions likely to be used sparingly, strategically | 27 August 2020 | Control Risks
Foreign Secretary (foreign minister) Dominic Raab on 6 July announced the first list of individuals subject to sanctions under a new UK system. The sanctions list is driven by human rights concerns, but geopolitics will undoubtedly play a part in future decisions on who to add and the UK is likely to want to avoid the inclusion of senior political figures from generally friendly nations.
Völkerrecht: Bundesrat zufrieden, Amnesty skeptisch | 22 August 2020 | Nau.ch
Das humanitäre Völkerrecht schützt Menschenrechte in Kriegen. Der Bundesrat zieht in einem freiwilligen Bericht Bilanz über die Umsetzung durch die Schweizer.
Rüstungsexporte nach Belarus: Die deutschen Geschäfte mit dem Lukaschenko-Regime | 20 August 2020 | Business Insider
Deutschland lieferte jahrelang Waffen und Munition nach Belarus. Selbst nach dem EU-Waffenembargo aus dem Jahr 2011 genehmigte die Bundesregierung noch Exporte von Rüstungsgütern in das Land.
Greek sale of 101 armoured troop carriers to Egypt which it had received from Germany | 18 August 2020 | Neos Kosmos
Germany’s leading business daily, Handelsblatt, reports that Greece has sold 101 Soviet-made BMP-1 armoured infantry combat vehicles to Egypt, which the paper says Berlin is finding hard to explain.
Swiss army procures from firms on investment blacklist | 17 August 2020 | Swissinfo
Arms manufacturers that have been recommended for exclusion by the Swiss Association for Responsible Investments (SARI) are linked to Swiss army contracts, a newspaper reports.
The UK Government Has Bailed Out Companies Complicit in Human Rights Abuses and Environmental Destruction | 17 August 2020 | VICE
A VICE News investigation this month revealed that companies accessing billions in public funds through a government scheme have paid out an estimated £11.5 billion in dividends, while announcing the loss of 42,000 jobs. VICE News can now reveal that government funds, currently totalling £18.9 billion, have been given to companies that have engaged in fraud, corruption, environmental destruction and the manufacture of chemical weaponry, as well as defence firms that have sold weapons to regimes accused of human rights abuses.
The Serious Fraud Office Finally Taking Action over a Saudi Arms Deal | 7 August 2020 | Byline Times
After months of negotiations in the 1980s, which included the Saudis being personally lobbied by then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the UK secured the biggest arms deal in the country’s history.
Licences d’exportation d’armes et de matériel lié à la défense vers l’Arabie saoudite (NL) (FR) | 7 August 2020 | Conseil d’état belge
Dans le cadre d’une procédure en référé d’extrême urgence, le Conseil d’État a été saisi d’un recours introduit par la Ligue des droits humains, la Coordination nationale d’action pour la paix et la démocratie et le Forum voor vredesactie contre des licences d’exportation d’armes et de matériel lié à la défense délivrées par la Région wallonne à destination de l’Arabie saoudite.
U.K. Sanctions Guidance Adds to Warnings for Maritime Sector | 3 August 2020 | The Wall Street Journal
A U.K. enforcement agency is urging the maritime industry to be on the lookout for illicit practices that could be used to evade sanctions, the latest regulator to warn about compliance risks facing the industry.
Rüstungsexporte in die Türkei steigen trotz Syrien-Einmarsch | 3 August 2020 | Handelsblatt
Auch nach dem Einmarsch der Türkei in Nordsyrien hat die Bundesregierung Rüstungslieferungen an den Nato-Partner in zweistelliger Millionenhöhe genehmigt. In den neuneinhalb Monaten seit dem Start der Offensive am 9. Oktober 2019 bis zum 22. Juli 2020 gab sie grünes Licht für Lieferungen im Wert von 25,9 Millionen Euro.
Rostec demonstrates TOS-1A flamethrower to foreign customers | 27 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
JSC Rosoboronexport and JSC Omsktransmash (part of JSC Concern Uralvagonzavod), which are subsidiaries of the Rostec State Corporation, have demonstrated the TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system to a number of foreign customers at the Nizhny Tagil Institute of Metal Testing’s (NTIIM’s) Staratel Proving Ground in Nizhny Tagil.
Limit on arms export to Turkey excludes maritime equipment, German Foreign Minister says | 27 July 2020 | Daily Sabah
Germany reaffirms that its decision to limit arms export to Turkey does not apply to naval weapons and maritime exports, the country’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said Monday. Berlin is one of the world’s main exporters of armaments and also a top exporter to Ankara.
UK government gives green light to more tear gas sales to US police despite UN warning over violence | 23 July 2020 | The Independent
The UK government has given the green light for the export of British tear gas and rubber bullets to the US despite the continuing use of force against protesters and warnings from the United Nations.
Weapons shipments from Serbia to Armenia through Georgia – fact or fiction? | 23 July 2020 | JAM News
Alleged arms deliveries from Serbia to Armenia during the recent flare up of violence on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border provoked the protest of official Baku. Georgia was dragged in after Azerbaijani newspaper haqqin.az stated that the weapons were delivered through its territory. The Georgian Foreign Ministry categorically denied this information, but the opposition in Georgia still has questions.
‘Isolated incidents’: The legal absurdity of UK arms sales for Saudi war in Yemen | 23 July 2020 | Middle East Eye
The UK government’s announcement of the resumption of arms export licensing to Saudi Arabia and its allies may well prove to be the nail in the coffin for thousands more Yemenis, as the war in their country extends into its sixth year.
Urovesa to supply up to 700 Vamtac tactical vehicles to Spanish armed forces | 22 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Spanish Ministry of Defense and the Galician company Urovesa have signed a framework contract for the supply of up to 700 High Tactical Mobility Vehicles (Vamtac) to the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and common structures for an amount of 146.3 million euro.
UK firms are selling invasive spy tech to repressive governments around the world | 22 July 2020 | Business Insider
UK companies are selling and marketing spy tech to countries accused of using these kinds of technology to violate human rights, according to export license data analysed by Business Insider.
Non-lethal Assistance and the Syrian Conflict: Lessons from the Netherlands | 20 July 2020 | Just Security
Whether one thinks of Syria, Libya, Yemen, or Ukraine, third-State involvement is undeniably a common feature of many – if not most – ongoing non-international armed conflicts. While the direct provision of arms to non-State armed groups is widely deemed contrary to international law, recent years suggest that States feel less reticence to provide so-called “non-lethal assistance” (NLA), understood as material aid not designed to inflict serious bodily harm or death. In particular, in the context of the Syrian civil war, such aid has been provided to various rebel groups, including by the United States as well as by several European countries. Of these countries, the Netherlands provides a particularly fascinating case study.
Russia defense industry unveils new 2S43 Malva 152mm 8×8 self-propelled howitzer | 20 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
Russia defense industry unveils new 8×8 152mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer 2S43 dubbed Malva developed by the Burevestnik Central Research Institute, a division of Uralvagonzavod who is now part of ROSTEC, State Corporation for Assistance to Development, Production and Export of Advanced Technology Industrial Product.
Belgian army to buy 40mm grenades and armored SUVs for its special forces | 20 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Belgian Ministry of Defense will buy ammunition for the 40mm grenade launchers that equip certain vehicles of the Special Forces Group, as well as a first batch of armored SUVs.
Serbian Ministry of Defense orders new Noras Lazars and Milosh armored vehicles | 20 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
On July 13, Serbian Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin visited the plants of the factory “Complex Combat Systems” in Velika Plana, and the occasion for the visit was recently signed a framework agreement for equipping of the Serbian Armed Forces with the 8×8 armored fighting vehicles Lazar-3 and self-propelled howitzers 155mm Nora B-52 M15.
Jahrzehntelange Verstöße: Greenpeace kritisiert Rüstungsexporte | 19 July 2020 | TAZ
Germany violated arms export regulations for decades, study says | 19 July 2020 | DW
Deutschland verstößt einer Studie zufolge seit 30 Jahren systematisch gegen zentrale Grundsätze zu Rüstungsexporten. Dies ergab eine Untersuchung des Leibniz-Instituts Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (HSFK) für Greenpeace, wie die Organisation am Sonntag mitteilte. „Deutschland genehmigt und exportiert Kriegswaffen und Rüstungsgüter in Kriegs-und Krisenländer, in Staaten mit Menschenrechtsverletzungen und in Spannungsregionen“, heißt es in der Untersuchung.
Saab to deliver Carl-Gustaf and AT4 systems to US Army | 17 July 2020 | ArmyTechnology
Saab has won a Skr930m ($100m) contract order from the US Army for the delivery of Carl-Gustaf ammunition weapon system and AT4 systems. The rifle is the upgraded version of the portable, shoulder-launched, multi-role weapon system.
UK Launches Independent Sanctions Policy With Focus on Human Rights Violations | 17 July 2020 | Jones Day | JD Supra
UK Government Introduces New Human Rights Sanctions Regime (pdf) | 10 July 2020 | Covington & Burling LLP
On 6 July 2020, the United Kingdom announced its first set of independent sanctions, following its departure from the European Union. The new sanctions focus on individuals and entities identified by the UK government as connected to alleged human rights violations, akin to the Magnitsky and Global Magnitsky sanctions programs in the United States.
Armes belges exportées en Arabie saoudite : des ONG introduisent une nouvelle action en justice contre la Région wallonne | 16 July 2020 | RTBF
La Ligue des droits humains, la Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie (CNAPD) et Vredesactie, soutenues par la section belge francophone d’Amnesty International, ont déposé au Conseil d’État deux recours en suspension en extrême urgence contre six nouvelles licences d’exportation d’armes vers l’Arabie saoudite, octroyées par le ministre-président wallon, Elio Di Rupo, les 29 avril et 8 juillet derniers.
Waffenfabrik Schweiz | 16 July 2020 | Die Wochenzeitung
Biggest Swiss-based arms manufacturers revealed | 16 July 2020 | Swissinfo
Die Konzerne, die Zulieferer, die Waffenhändler: Die WOZ gibt exklusiv Einblick in das verschwiegene Schweizer Rüstungsbusiness. Das sind die Profiteure im Geschäft mit dem Krieg.
Switzerland exported half a billion francs worth of arms in six months | 15 July 2020 | swissinfo
Swiss companies exported CHF501 million ($530 million) in war materiel in the first half of the year, almost twice as much as the same period in 2019.
Finnish Defense Exports, 2019 | 15 July 2020 | SLDinfo.com
In 2019, the Ministry of Defence granted a total of 284 permanent export licences for defence materiel (257 in 2018). The total value of the licences was EUR 105 million, which is 40% lower than in 2018; then the figure was EUR 176 million. The value of actual exports decreased by 12% and was around EUR 113 million in 2019.
Russia: VPK unveils Strela new light armored vehicle | 15 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The general director of the Military Industrial Company (VPK, part of the GAZ Group), Alexander Krasovitsky, told RIA Novosti news agency about the creation of the military-industrial complex of the new Strela (Arrow) light armored 4×4 vehicle, BMPD Live Journal reports. Krasovitsky emphasized that the Strela design uses Russian-made components.
Deutschland exportiert deutlich mehr Kriegswaffen | 14 July 2020 | Zeit Online
Aus Deutschland sind in den ersten vier Monaten Kriegswaffen für fast eine halbe Milliarde Euro verkauft worden. Das sind 40 Prozent mehr als im Vorjahreszeitraum.
Les véritables menaces politiques qui pèsent sur l’industrie d’armement française (3/3) | 13 July 2020 | La Tribune
L’industrie d’armement française, telle qu’elle est actuellement, est en péril : aussi bien dans son organisation nationale, que dans la volonté politique de lancer des coopérations européennes tous azimuts (programmes, alliances industrielles) en passant par les nombreuses entraves dans le domaine des exportations.
UK selling spyware and wiretaps to 17 repressive regimes including Saudi Arabia and China | 13 July 2020 | The Independent
The British government is providing more than a dozen repressive regimes around the world with wiretaps, spyware and other telecommunications interception equipment they could use to spy on dissidents, public records show.
Estonia delivers 2400 Soviet-made 9mm Makarov pistols to Ukraine | 10 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
According to information published by the Estonian MoD (Ministry of Defense) on July 7, 2020, the Ministry of Defence of Estonia sent a shipment of 2,400 9mm Makarov pistols from Estonia to Ukraine, in order to support the strengthening of Ukraine’s independent defense capabilities.
Armenia’s Kalashnikov Plant Commences Operations | 10 July 2020 | Israel Defense
The Armenian government revealed on July 7 that the country’s small arms production plant began operating under license to manufacture Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles.
Russian Journalist Ivan Safronov Arrested over Charges of Treason | 10 July 2020 | Council of Europe
On 7 July 2020, Federal Security Service (FSB) officers detained Ivan Safronov near his Moscow
apartment and charged him with high treason for allegedly spying for the Czech Republic. The journalist’s lawyer, said in an interview with Dozhd that his client was accused of spying for the Czech Republic since 2012 and of passing secrets “about military cooperation between Russia and a Middle Eastern-North African country” to Czech special services in 2017, “which, in turn, collaborated with the United States.”
Britain lifts ban on Saudi weapons exports | 8 July 2020 | DefenseNews
Britain has lifted a yearlong ban on the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, the government announced July 7. Weapon sales to Saudi Arabia were banned in June 2019 after a U.K. Court of Appeal ruled that the government may have contravened international humanitarian law by approving weapon sales to the Saudis that might have been used in the civil war in Yemen.
Spanish Police Apprehend 2 People For Smuggling Dual-Use Equipment To Pakistani Military Companies | 7 July 2020 | Business World
Spanish Police have apprehended two persons on charges of smuggling dual-use equipment and technology to Pakistani military companies, sources reported. According to sources, the technology being smuggled could be used for Missile Guidance systems.
Rapport annuel 2020 sur les exportations d’armement de la France | 7 July 2020 | Amnesty International France
Onze organisations humanitaires et de défense des droits humains dénoncent la volonté du gouvernement français de maintenir l’opacité sur ses ventes d’armes, à l’occasion de l’audition à huis clos le 7 juillet 2020 de la Ministre des Armées, Florence Parly, à la Commission de la défense nationale et des forces armées de l’Assemblée nationale au sujet de son rapport sur les exportations d’armement de la France sur l’année écoulée.
Saudi soldiers are training in military camp in France, says Amnesty | 7 July 2020 | RFI
According to rights group, Amnesty International, a private military training camp set up in France is training Saudi soldiers on arms used in the war in Yemen. Amnesty claims that the Belgian company running the training camp benefitted from government favours.
The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 – UK Statutory Instruments | 6 July 2020 | UK Government
Global Human Rights Sanctions regime: Foreign Secretary’s statement to Parliament | 6 July 2020 | UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Dominic Raab gave a Commons statement introducing the new Global Human Rights Sanctions regime and the first sanctions on those involved in human rights abuses.
Global Human Rights Sanctions: consideration of designations – policy paper | 6 July 2020 | UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
This note aims to highlight factors relevant to whether a person may be designated under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (‘the Regulations’).
Global Human Rights: Financial Sanctions Notice (pdf) | 6 July 2020 | Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation | HM Treasury
On 6 July 2020, the Foreign Secretary laid before Parliament the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (S.I. 680/2020) (the Regulations). The Regulations are made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the Sanctions Act) and provide for the freezing of funds and economic resources of certain persons, entities or bodies responsible for or involved in serious violations of human rights.
Global Human Rights Sanctions: guidance | 6 July 2020 | Foreign & Commonwealth Office
As required by Section 43 of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (‘the Sanctions Act’), the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has provided this guidance to assist in the implementation of and compliance with the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (‘the Regulations’).
Explanatory Memorandum to the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (pdf) | 6 July 2020 | Foreign & Commonwealth Office
This instrument is intended to deter, and provide accountability for, activities which, if carried out by or on behalf of a State, would amount to a serious violation of certain human rights by that State. This instrument enables the Secretary of State to impose asset freezes and travel bans on persons involved in such conduct.
Canons belges vendus à l’Arabie saoudite : l’enquête d’Amnesty sur le mystérieux centre de formation installé en France | 6 July 2020 | RTBF
La vente de tourelles de blindé à l’Arabie saoudite par l’entreprise liégeoise CMI, rebaptisée John Cockerill, suscite de nouvelles interrogations. Les autorités françaises se sont montrées très généreuses envers l’entreprise belge pour qu’elle installe son centre de formation pour les militaires saoudiens dans la région de Nancy. Mais les retombées économiques espérées pas cette région déshéritée ne sont pas au rendez-vous. En revanche, l’armement belge est bien utilisé dans une des plus sales guerres en cours, celle menée par l’Arabie saoudite au Yémen.
Hirtenberger Defence wins contract to deliver 60mm mortars to French army | 6 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
In april 2017, the DGA (Direction générale de l’armement, Defense Procurement Angency) launched a tender for the purchase of 120 60 mm mortars and thousands of munitions of various types.
Belgian Defense to buy 243 FN M2 heavy machine guns | 6 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Council of Ministers approved on Friday, July 3 the launch of a public contract for the acquisition of 243 heavy machine guns, the second purchase of its kind in a year, the Belgian government announced on Saturday, without specifying the amount of this contract.
Russia expands Typhoon-K family of 4×4 protected vehicles | 1 July 2020 | ArmyRecognition
The Russian defense industry is expanding the Typhoon-K family of 4×4 light armored vehicles. Typhoon is a Russian family of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles in service since 2014. Around 120 Russian companies including KamAZ, Gaz-Group, and Bauman University, etc. are taking part in the Typhoon program. The main aim of the program is to design a fundamentally new unified platform for all Russian armored wheeled vehicles