IPS - TerraViva
The five largest arms purchasers during 2005-2009 were China, India, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Greece, according to the latest figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). March 2010.
Every day, millions of men, women and children are living in fear of armed violence. Every minute, one of them is killed. There are 640 million weapons in circulation globally and 8 million more are produced every year along with 16 billion bullets. Small arms are produced by 1,249 companies in more than 90 countries. In some of these countries trade controls are almost non-existent.
The lack of control on the arms trade means that they travel too easily and get into the hands of groups and people who use them to violate Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. In this way, the abuse of arms is perpetrated both by armies during armed conflicts and security forces making an inappropriate use of force, as well as by private security companies and organized crime groups.
However, armed violence is not reduced to wars or delinquency, but is becoming widespread in thousands of family households. At the present time, more than half of conventional arms are in the hands of civilians.
In fact, the arms trade is one of the world’s most lucrative businesses apart from being a field for widespread corruption and bribes. The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council –United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China– account for 88 per cent of the world’s conventional arms exports registered. From 1998 to 2001, the US, UK and France earned more income from arms sales to developing countries than what they gave in Official Development Aid.
States defend their right of individual or collective self-defense as set forth in Article 51 of the UN Charter, and the legitimate security interests that are asserted by all countries. And while international regulations have been adopted in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation and chemical and biological weapons as well as anti-personal landmines have been outlawed, there is still neither a compulsory regulatory framework nor standards for the elimination of the illicit trade in small and light arms.
In addition to this, there is a constant threat of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear energy used for war purposes, in spite of the existence of a Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which entered into force in 1970.
Does this mean that we are condemned to live in an unsafe and dangerous world? Is it by chance “idealistic” to think of a world without arms?
On April 2002, the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China jointly hosted an international conference on “A Disarmament Agenda for the 21st Century”, held in Beijing, China. The participants included government officials from nineteen countries, along with fifteen representatives from non-governmental groups and academia, as well as a number of observers from China and diplomatic missions in Beijing. Featured speakers included Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, Coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
During her speech Williams said: “If we want to live in a world with a meaningful agenda for disarmament in this century, civil society, like-minded governments, international agencies and the United Nations must forge a partnership to ensure that our ‘idealistic’ vision becomes the new reality.”
The United Nations Charter was negotiated by 50 governments and opened for signature in June 1945. Article 26 of the Charter offers evidence of assumptions made about this new institution and how nations united and working together could actually prevent conflict and deliver peace and security, not just talk about it. Article 26 gives the Security Council and the Military Staff Committee the responsibility for creating a plan for regulating armaments and reducing military expenditures, a task it has neglected entirely. November 2008.
Over the last two decades, awareness has grown regarding the importance of weapons control and disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration in peace processes, both during the negotiation of peace agreements and in their implementation. Experience gained during this period has demonstrated that the way these issues are handled can significantly influence the outcome of peace-building efforts and contribute to their success or failure. May 2008 (pdf version).
The Committee has a crucial and expanding responsibility to inform NGOs worldwide of the status of negotiation, country positions, major obstacles and opportunities, and to help NGOs transmit their expertise and creative proposals to the appropriate decision-making fora.
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) — an autonomous institute within the United Nations — conducts research on disarmament and security with the aim of assisting the international community in their disarmament thinking, decisions and efforts.
The statistics are mind-numbing. A decade after Canada spearheaded the campaign that made landmines illegal, 309,000 people were killed this year (2006) by small arms. There are 650 million guns – leave out the smart bombs, giant artillery and tanks, the mortars, the missiles, the weapons of armies, air forces and navies – in circulation world-wide, one for every 10 people on the planet. Put another way, with 16 billion units of military ammunition produced every year, there are small arms and ammunition enough to shoot every man, woman and child on the planet twice. January 2007.
In an effort to block UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's proposal to reduce the stature of the Department of Disarmament Affairs (DDA), a group of NGOs has circulated a letter to delegations at the UN, seeking their support. John Burroughs of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy (a signatory to the letter) recalls that some neoconservative US politicians successfully led a campaign in the 1990s that "laid the groundwork for the retrograde US positions on disarmament." The NGOs emphasize the need for the DDA to remain independent and "shielded to some extent" from political pressure. February 2007.
The Department promotes the goal of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and the strengthening of the disarmament regimes in respect to other weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons. It also promotes disarmament efforts in the area of conventional weapons, especially land mines and small arms, which are the weapons of choice in contemporary conflicts.
The UN First Committee (on disarmament and security matters) is growing in importance, particularly given growing attention on the forthcoming UN small arms process review conference in June-July 2006. The First Committee's annual meeting in October/November gathered the world's governments to discuss a range of issues related to arms control and disarmament, including small arms and light weapons. It represents another forum and opportunity for advancing measures to reduce the human cost of armed violence, and for greater controls on the trade in weapons.
On 2–4 April 2002, the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China jointly hosted an international conference on “A Disarmament Agenda for the 21st Century,” held in Beijing, China. The Conference’s formal agenda focused on defence doctrines, nuclear disarmament, preventing an arms race in outer space, missile proliferation and missile defence, and conventional arms.
At the moment the UN is working on an arms trade treaty that could stop weapons transfers. If a strong treaty eventually becomes law, then an arms exporter will have to block the sale if there is evidence the weapons are likely to be used to commit serious violations of human rights law. May 2008.
As the UN General Assembly begins its annual session on arms control, which will include a landmark vote on an Arms Trade Treaty, a new report from the Control Arms Campaign reveals how the globalisation of the arms industry has opened up major loopholes in all current arms export regulations, allowing sales to human rights abusers and countries under arms embargoes. October 2006 (pdf version).
An international group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) collaborates in the promotion of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the national, regional and international levels. This ATT Steering Committee is comprised of international and regional organisations that form part of the Commission of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and/or are doing work on arms control, demilitarization and development with years of experience in the field. The ATT Steering Committee has established the overall strategic direction of the Arms Trade Treaty initiative, drafting the legal text in coordination with legal experts, and arranging lobbying, research, and campaign activities.
There is an imperative need for an international Arms Trade Treaty, based on fundamental principles of international law, to reduce the human cost of arms proliferation, prevent unscrupulous weapons suppliers finding the weakest point in the supply chain, and ensure that all arms exporters are working to the same standards. June 2005 (pdf version).
Towards an arms trade treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. Resolution 61/89 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 6 December, 2006 (pdf version).
The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) is India's national network of over 200 organisations, including grassroots groups, mass movements and advocacy organisations, as well as individuals. Formed in November 2000, CNDP demands that India and Pakistan roll back their nuclear weapons programmes.
The Cold War may be over, but this does not mean nuclear weapons have disappeared. Far from it: There are over 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with more than a thousand of them ready to launch at a moment's notice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
UNICEF was instrumental in putting the humanitarian costs of small arms on the agenda of the 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects. The conference helped build political will for action against small arms, including in relation to children. UNICEF also supports regional initiatives, which are essential to furthering programmatic work.
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom created the RCW project in 1999, in order to increase the quality and quantity of civil society at international disarmament fora, such as those that take place at the UN.
Non Governmental Organism, with nonprofit aims, associated to United Nations, that works on Latin American Disarmament, disnuclearization of the Continent, Defense of Human Rights and Environmental Protection.
The GCA is a network of organisations and individuals calling for the stricter control of firearms in South Africa. Currently over 200 diverse organisations support the Charter for Gun Control, including business, health, religious, women and youth organisations.
Irresponsible arms transfers are undermining many developing countries’ chances of achieving their Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. This paper shows new evidence of how this is happening in parts of Asia, Latin America, and Africa – either by draining governments’ resources or by fuelling armed violence or conflict. October 2008 (pdf).
US arms sales have multiplied by three since the beginning of the Bush Administration, and of these sales more than half were either to undemocratic governments or regimes that engaged in major human rights abuse, according to a new report by The New America Foundation. December 2008.
The following Principles bring together States’ existing obligations in respect of international transfers of arms and ammunition. The Principles are proposed by a diverse group of non-governmental organisations 1. The Principles reflect the content of a variety of international instruments including: international and regional treaties, declarations and resolutions of the United Nations and other multilateral and regional organisations, and model regulations intended for national legislation. Some of the Principles reflect customary and treaty law, while others reflect widely accepted emerging norms. The compilation indicates the best general rules for effective control of international transfers of all conventional arms and ammunition. The rules reflect States’ obligations under international law while also recognising States’ right to legitimate self defence and law enforcement in accordance with international standards. August 2006 (pdf format).
This handbook builds on the HD Centre’s seminal 2005 publication, Missing Pieces: Directions for reducing gun violence through the UN process on small arms control. It was complemented with inputs from numerous parliamentarians and examples of action at the national level. It will be available in English, French and Spanish (pdf version).
In recent years, the Russian Federation has become one of the major weapons suppliers to Latin America. This has satisfied two of Moscow’s major goals: greater profits and economy of scale for its weapons industry and the continued amplification of its presence in the region. While this does not signify that any aspiration for a return of a Soviet-style Cold War-era sphere of influence is in the offing, it is important to understand the actual depth of Russia’s burgeoning presence and the range of influence being exercised by it within the region’s military establishments. Moscow’s developing bilateral security relations with Latin American governments have become a matter of some concern for Washington. March 2007.
In 2004, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) was asked by the United States (US) Department of State to conduct a scoping study on synergies between mine action and efforts to mitigate harmful effects of small arms and light weapons (SALW). While mine action has been an established humanitarian activity since the late 1980s, large-scale programmes to address the humanitarian and developmental impacts of SALW only started in the mid-1990s. To date, there has been little strategic exchange between the two sectors, despite some apparent similarities in both the problem and the determined responses. October 2006 (pdf version).
This manual highlights how disarmament issues have traditionally been focused almost exclusively on state actors and governmental organs, whereas civil society action has often been ignored. Using a clear, descriptive language, it provides concrete steps on how to organise campaigns for small arms action (pdf version).
Independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. It serves as the principal international source of public information on all aspects of small arms, and as a resource centre for governments, policy makers, researchers, and activists.
SmallArmsNet is an information portal for groups and individuals working to contain the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa. An initiative of the Arms Management Programme (AMP) of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), it is an information hub for small arms and arms related issues affecting the continent.
The arms trade is a major cause of human rights abuses. Some governments spend more on military expenditure than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined. While every nation has the right and the need to ensure its security, in these changing times, arms requirements and procurements may need to change too.
Finding solutions to reduce the human cost of small arms availability and misuse is a global challenge. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue established the Human Security and Small Arms Programme in 2001 after repeatedly witnessing the impacts of small arms proliferation and related violence in the regions where it undertakes its mediation activities.
Irresponsible arms transfers are undermining many developing countries’ chances of achieving their Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. This paper shows new evidence of how this is happening in parts of Asia, Latin America, and Africa – either by draining governments’ resources or by fuelling armed violence or conflict. October 2008 (pdf).
Since 2003, Member States have gathered every two years to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, which was adopted in 2001. The Programme of Action contains a number of measures to control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, including legislation, destruction of confiscated weapons, and strengthening the ability of States to identify and trace those weapons. The Third Biennial Meeting of States was held from 14 to 18 July at UN Headquarters in New York. At the conclusion of the meeting, Member States voted to adopt a 'Draft Outcome Document' of the meeting which includes recommendations on a 'way forward'. July 2008 (pdf).
The US blocks proposed UN Security Council action on small arms and light weapons control, according to Security Council Report. The US remains one of the largest exporters of these weapons, and the small arms industry is worth an estimated US$5 billion globally per year. The report shows that small arms and light weapons account for over half a million deaths a year, primarily in Africa. April 2008 (pdf version).
There are no international standards and treaties governing the import, export and transfer of arms. Some states and regional bodies, such as the European Union, have policies and legislation regulating the trade in arms. However, in conflict-prone zones like certain regions in Africa, such policies and legislation appear to be ineffective or non-existent. Currently, there is momentum building in with the United Nations for an Arms Trade Treaty to be established that will promote common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. April 2007 (pdf version).
Africa suffers enormously from conflict and armed violence. As well as the human tragedy, armed conflict costs Africa around $18bn per year, seriously derailing development. The most commonly used weapons in Africa’s conflicts are Kalashnikov assault rifles. The vast majority of these weapons and their ammunition – perhaps 95 per cent - come from outside Africa. To protect lives and livelihoods, the 2008 UN Group of Governmental Experts working on the Arms Trade Treaty must ensure swift progress towards a strong and effective Treaty. All governments have a role to play in ensuring its success. October 2007.
This Boston Globe article discusses an October 2006 Congressional Research Service report, which ranked the US as the top supplier of arms to the developing world. The report states that the US has supplied high-tech arms to 18 of the 25 countries in the world with ongoing conflicts and to a large number of nations known to violate human rights. The article concludes that US arms sales to conflict-ridden areas only perpetuate violence and hinder US security interests in the long term. However, the US government appears willing to forgo these risks for the economic benefits accompanying these transactions. October 2006.
While the U.S. hangs its foreign policy on preventing the spread of “weapons of mass destruction” (a worthy goal, however grossly the Bush administration goes about achieving it), it continues to ignore a more immediate threat—the proliferation of small arms and light weapons—that deserves serious attention as well. October 2006.
It is not an over-statement to say that small arms in Africa have played the major role in every political conflict, from South, East and West Africa. Baffour Dokyi Amoa, Chairman of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) and the President of the Africa Forum on Small Arms (AFonSA), writes that "Conservative estimates indicate that there are about eight million small arms and light weapons in West Africa alone. Of the 640 million small arms circulating in the world, it is estimated that 100 million are found in Africa." September 2006.
This report by Biting the Bullet (International Alert, Saferworld and University of Bradford) aims to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date review and analysis of progress towards implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects (PoA) and of the consequent issues and priorities for the 2006 Review Conference. June 2006.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle will remain the most widely-used weapon in conflict zones for at least the next 20 years because it is so poorly regulated, according to a new report by the Control Arms campaign released at the start of the UN world conference on small arms and light weapons in New York, on 26 June 2006 (pdf format).
Growing state-sponsored out-sourcing and the increasing private mediation of international arms distribution and procurement is adding to the risk of arms being delivered, diverted and used for grave human rights violations. Yet current government efforts to improve the monitoring and regulation of such intermediate activities in the arms trade are weak and faltering. This report examines the role of private contractors in arms transfer logistics, brokering and transport. The role of such intermediaries is increasingly integral to the global arms trade, especially to the 35 countries whose exports make up roughly 90% of the world’s arms trade. May 2006.
The subject of small arms and light weapons has been covered in great detail in numerous studies and is an issue of concern for the United Nations, as well as a wide range of international nongovernmental organisations, think-tanks and government agencies. The aim of this In-Depth is thus not to attempt to challenge the wealth of material that is available, but rather to provide the reader an overview of the critical issues. It also includes 13 frontline reports from IRIN journalists, interviews with experts in the field and those who have directly experienced the human impact of small arms, and links to further information. May 2006.
Although the gun epidemic continues unabated, the international community has failed to address it as a crisis. The United Nations held its first major meeting on the issue just five years ago, and the UN Small Arms Review Conference will be held in June. Whilst urgent action is clearly indicated, there are fears that the meeting will simply re-run its previous, five year old discussions and miss the opportunity to move forward. June 2006.
States have a legal obligation to comply strictly with arms embargoes imposed by the Security Council under the authority of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Rigorous design, monitoring and compliance with the agreed terms of such embargoes can contribute significantly to the promotion of international peace and security, and to the respect of a wide range of human rights and fundamental freedoms as required in international law. The authority of the Security Council and the United Nations is greatly undermined by persistent violations of UN embargoes and impunity of the violators. March 2006.
The munitions trail leads from the world's richest nations to its most impoverished corners. Cahil Milmo and Kate Holt report from Kwajroji, in southern Sudan, on the Mandari, a tribe of nomadic herdsmen, and their relationship with the Kalashnikov. April 2006.
In 2001, the UN convened the first global conference on the small arms problem, which led to a non-binding agreement: the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All its Aspects. The Programme of Action was bitterly negotiated and the result of numerous compromises. It does not refer to the obligations of States to end the misuse of force by State forces (police and military). The agreement was negotiated primarily by experts in arms control, sensitive to questions of national security and sovereignty, but perhaps not sufficiently mindful of the linkages between abuse of arms and human rights, humanitarian action, health and sustainable development. While the need to restrict the supply of weapons was openly discussed, factors driving the demand for guns and the crucial issue of misuse of these weapons were largely left out of the debate. (Source: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue).
From 26 June to 7 July 2006, government representatives, NGOs and UN agencies will once again convene in New York for the Review Conference on Small Arms (RevCon). The task will be to assess progress made in the intervening five years. On the road to the Review Conference, a preparatory committee (PrepCom) took place on 9-20 January 2006.
Excessive or inappropriate arms purchases are a drain on social and economic resources which developing countries cannot afford. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter recognises that every state has a right to individual and collective self-defence. However, the UN Charter also requires all member states to “promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms” in order to achieve “economic and social progress and development” (Articles 1, 55 and 56) and “to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources” (Article 26). June 2004.
The world spends US$ 900 billion on defence each year, but only around US$ 50 billion on development aid. Across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, an average of US$ 22 billion is spent annually on arms. This sum would enable those regions to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of achieving universal primary education and reducing infant and maternal mortality. Instead one child in five does not complete primary school, more than 10 million children die each year, and half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth. id21 Guest Editor Jane Chanaa points to the crucial roles that development organisations and exporter and importer states must play in halting the negative impact of arms deals on development.
The widespread availability of illicit small arms and light weapons in crisis situations, disenfranchised ex-combatants, and incidence of armed violence, threaten the very foundations of sustainable human development. The development and security threats posed by these issues demand concerted international assistance to prevent armed violence and support countries struggling to recovery from conflict.
At a White House press conference on 18 May 2009, US President Barack Obama expressed "deepening concern" about "the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran." He continued: "Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole and could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East." By his side was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the room with them, there was an elephant, a large and formidably destructive elephant, which they and the assembled press pretended not to see. June 2009.
This Korea Economic Institute report argues that the UN has been playing a secondary role, behind the US and UK, in trying to disarm North Korea. According to the report, a unified UN approach to the problem is unlikely due to the diverging national interests of the P5. Also, humanitarian concerns in the region remain a priority for the UN, forcing the organization to ease its political stance in fear of possible backlash against civilians. The report argues that the UN, instead of the US or UK, should take the lead in disarming North Korea. July 2008 (pdf).
The day the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Iran's case to the UN Security Council, it started a process that many now believe may ultimately cause the collapse of the entire non-proliferation regime. The IAEA, which until then had largely managed to keep itself away from politics by concentrating on technical issues, is now a battleground between political forces which have found a new platform and an excuse to settle old scores. March 2008.
While much is being made of Pakistan's nuclear assets, facts on the ground reveal the US to be the most dangerous nuclear state in the world with a track record of failed command structures and failed safety systems for its reactors. December 2007.
Project Butter Factory tells the story of Henk Slebos, A.Q. Khan and the failed international effort to control nuclear proliferation. It is a story of how the drive for profit, competing political interests and weak regulations in the Netherlands allowed the export of dual-use nuclear components to continue unchecked. The Slebos case is a clear example of the failed international effort to control nuclear proliferation. If lessons are to be learnt, writes Frank Slijper, then it is high time for the reform of the system governing dual-use exports at EU level, and for the existing nuclear powers to stop turning a blind eye to proliferation and start serious disarmament. September 2007 (pdf version).
To make progress on both non-proliferation and disarmament at once, there has to be recognition that all nuclear weapons are created equal, writes Mian. They are all weapons of terror and should be seen as equally immoral, illegal, illegitimate and dangerous, no matter who possesses them. December 2006.
The world has just renewed the agonizing memory of the American savagery in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet there was the disturbing absence of the call for global denuclearization from any of the international players or from the United Nations. October 2006.
After two years' work, the independent international Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, WMDC, chaired by Hans Blix, has put forward a number of concrete proposals on how the world could be freed of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The report, entitled 'Weapons of Terror', analyses the threats under which the world is living today – above all, 27.000 nuclear weapons and efforts by individual states and perhaps terrorist groups to develop or obtain different kinds of weapons of terror. June 2006.
There is a dangerous and provocative nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, but it belongs to Israel, not Iran. The only solution to the crisis is to move towards a nuclear weapons-free zone, or even a weapons of mass destruction-free zone across the entire Middle East, argues Phyllis Bennis. March 2006.
The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objectives are to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving general and complete disarmament. The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the Treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA is the world´s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.
How the nuclear question plays out will depend in part on how the internal debate unfolds inside Iran. One option that should be given serious consideration is the idea of a “grand bargain,” whereby Iran would give up its nuclear weapons program, cease its military support of Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups, and desist from running interference in Iraq in exchange for international support for its peaceful nuclear industry, guarantees of protection from regime change and other hostile military endeavors, and full reintegration into the community of nations. The Bush administration, whose accusations about Iran’s nuclear weapons program are undermined by its track record of WMD claims in the run-up to the war in Iraq, would be prudent to work toward this goal before the nuclear genie successfully springs its confines. January 2005.
Alarming disclosures about Pakistan's illicit sale of its atomic secrets should impel serious rethinking everywhere on relying on nuclear weapons for security and highlight the urgency of disarmament. February 2004.
The global financial crisis has not deterred some of the world's developed and developing nations from bolstering their military arsenals with expensive new weapons systems, including sophisticated fighter planes, combat helicopters, submarines, armoured vehicles and air defence systems. March 2010.
More than 800 representatives from organizations throughout the Americas made their way to the northern city of La Esperanza, Honduras to take a strong stand against the militarization of their nations and communities. Following three days of workshops, the participants read their final declaration in front of the gates of the U.S. Army Base at Palmerola, Honduras, just hours from the conference site. October 2008.
Urban peripheries in Third World countries have become war zones where states attempt to maintain order based on the establishment of a sort of "sanitary cordon" to keep the poor isolated from "normal" society. A study by the United Nations estimates that one billion people live in peripheral neighborhoods outside Third World cities and that the poor in the largest cities in the world number some two billion, that is, a third of all human beings. These statistics will double within the next 15 or 20 years, and "all future growth of the world's population will occur in cities, 95% of it in cities of the Global South and the majority in slums." February 2008.
"Selling US Wars" looks at the ideological constructions used to legitimise US foreign policy behaviour. It examines the pretexts used for the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and numerous military interventions elsewhere. In the introduction to "Selling US Wars", a book by Transnational Institute (TNI) Fellows and associates, Achin Achin Vanaik examines this "software" of US empire building. December 2007.
With little scrutiny from Democrats in Congress and nary a whimper of protest from the liberal establishment, the United States will soon establish permanent military bases in sub-Saharan Africa. An alarming step forward in the militarization of the African continent, the US Africa Command (Africom) will oversee all US military and security interests throughout the region, excluding Egypt. Africom is set to launch by September 2008 and the Senate recently confirmed Gen. William "Kip" Ward as its first commander. November 2007.