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Dutch 007 equipment; Royal Ten Cate on innovative defence market

Special Forces are the troops most spared by Western governments when economizing on the military. They are an essential element of the new Remote Warfare policy of which drones are another element. New equipment appeals to boy's fantasy. With DARPA's newly-commissioned stealth dirt bikes, the enemy “will never hear how rad you are”. BRD Motorcycles developed a quiet,... read more >

No problem with arms sales to Qatar?

At the closing ceremonies of the DIMDEX Arms Fair Qatar announced arms acquisitions valued at €17 billion ($23 bn.).  This is more than twice the total Dutch annual military budget. Amongst others, the deal includes attack helicopters, guided missiles, tanker planes and naval vessels. Different segments of the orders have a Dutch component. The arms race on the Arabian peninsular has a... read more >

Switzerland and Japan lower arms export standards

The annual report on global arms export of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) deals with legal arms exports only. It is the lion share of the world wide trade in weapons. Figures on illegal arms exports, by criminals, companies or countries violating international arms embargos by the UN, EU or OSCE, are not available, for obvious reasons. The United States, which has... read more >

Louder than words; European arms export policy debated

Next week, European non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels with the Council Working Party on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM ) of the European Union. On the agenda is the review of the Users Guide on the EU Common Position on the control of export of military technology and equipment (Common Position on arms export). It will be evaluated in the light of the Arab Spring and the situation... read more >

Military exercises and arms

In recent weeks, the U.S. Africa Command annual regional exercise and operation Flintlock took place. Thousand of soldiers from eighteen countries cooperated in this international event for Special Forces. This year the aim of the exercise was to strengthen the position of the participating countries in two North African regions : the southern border region of Libya and the border region of... read more >

Arab Spring has not restrained the arms trade

The Dutch arms trade is back with a vengeance. While 2012 was a relatively lean year, in 2013 the export of arms rose sharply again. Large orders were recorded from Indonesia (348 million euro) , Oman (64 million) , Singapore (52 million ) and Algeria (24 million). Furthermore, the current government has no objections to sending arms to dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan. In 2011... read more >

Horizon 2020: more money for building Fortress Europe

The last months of 2013 saw a continuing trend of border militarisation, with the official launch of the EU border surveillance system Eurosur, the announcement of the building of a razor wire border fence along Bulgaria's border with Turkey and the news that the EU 'civilian' border mission in Libya is in fact training paramilitary Libyan border guards. Meanwhile international... read more >

Killer drones for Europe

In September the Dutch government finally decided to buy a mere 37 of the initially planned 85 F-35 fighter aircraft to replace its F-16 fleet. As this leaves the Netherlands with very limited air power, it might only be a question of time before the recently selected General Atomic's MQ-9 Reaper will receive an armed payload. So far the four planes and one ground station are intended for... read more >

According to some financial institutions, nuclear weapons are not controversial

The Belgian bank KBC claims to have “the most far-reaching policy on controversial weapons in the world.“ Recently however, the report 'Don't Bank on the Bomb'  by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN ) and IKV Pax Christi showed KBC investments in Serco, a company involved in development and maintenance of nuclear weapon technology.  When... read more >

Algeria, Morocco naval built-up supports EU anti-immigration policies (and the Dutch arms industry)

While Europe itself is beefing up military operations to prevent immigrants from entering the EU by sea, it also supports North African countries to better equip themselves to tackle the issue at their end. Of course it cuts both ways: North Africa's military expansion is a welcome business opportunity too. Algeria is one of the key countries Europe is looking at. According to the EU, it... read more >

Selling border militarization as a humanitarian effort

Just one week after the dramatic events off the coast of Lampedusa, where more than 300 refugees drowned when their boat sank, the European Parliament approved the operating rules for Eurosur, the European border surveillance system. Eurosur provides in the exchange of real time images and data between EU member states and the EU border agency Frontex, gathered through surveillance of the... read more >

More Dutch F-16s for Jordan

Struggling to balance its budget, the Dutch armed forces badly need cash from selling surplus stock weapons. The long list of available equipment includes armoured vehicles, helicopters, fighter aircraft and even the massive “Joint Logistic Support Ship” (JSS), already put for sale prior to delivery. So far sales have not come easily. In 2012 the planned export of 100 Leopard 2 tanks... read more >

Illegal arms trade legalised

The fallout caused by the war in Libya has yet to settle, while the next military intervention is already planned. The Maghreb and Near East are flooded with heavy arms, smuggled out of Libyan arsenals. Syria is an important destination. The BBC cites the UN Security Council's Group of Experts, which monitors the arms embargo imposed on Libya during the 2011 uprising. In April 2013 the... read more >

Egypt, arms smuggling from Libyan stocks

During and after the 2011 civil war in Libya, arms and ammunition has been stolen on a massive scale. It is not terribly difficult to smuggle these weapons into Egypt. Border are extensive and porous and weakly patrolled. “Transfers from Libya of more regular and significant quantities of arms and, at times, fighters have developed towards two geographic areas: Egypt and the Sahel,... read more >

Arms industry support as EU economic policy

“Time has come to take ambitious action” writes the European Commission in its July 24 communication named A new deal for European defence. Towards a more comprehensive and efficient defence and security sector. The Commission wants “to strengthen the defence sector by mobilising all relevant EU policies”. To do this, it has developed a strategy and a 8-step action plan,... read more >

Military industry profits from governments' violations of rights of refugees

Especially since the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon in September 2011, the security market has become of increasing importance to the military industry. For border security alone, business information provider Visiongain estimates the worth of the global market for 2013 will be over 19.3 billion dollars. Strategic Defence Intelligence, a similar company, stated that border security will be... read more >

Troubles in the Desert; Mauritania as arms exports destination

Mauritania can hardly be called a hot spot for international arms traders. Although its military expenditure - almost 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - is a real burden for the desert country, in absolute figures the 116 (2009) million US dollars is less than e.g. the costs of one Dutch offshore patrol vessel. Much of it has to be used for salaries and buildings. Mauritania is the kid... read more >

The EU’s 28th member and Al Nusrah’s arms

The Brown Moses blog has gained international acclaim for identifying the use of weapons in the two year old Syrian war. One of the more significant findings of the blog are pictures of what appear to be Croatian weapons spotted in the arsenals of Islamic extremist groups operating in Syria, including Jabhat al-Nusrah, notorious for its grave human rights violations. In February, Eliot Higgins... read more >