Sunday, October 12, 2008


I don't want to wade into the flood of news and reports about the hijacked ship and tanks.The papers are doing a good job.The world of arms trading is a simple business but with complex details.

Firstly, arms are usually sold to STATES and NEVER individuals or non-state groups i.e. Taliban,FARC,Lords Army.......etc

Secondly,Only states without an embargo such as a UN Arms Embargo can purchase.

Thirdly, to sell to a State it must produce an End User Certificate.This is a document that states that X amount of weapons and equipment bought from Z industries is being procured for the sole use of Government Y.Hence, we are within the first rule.

Tough situation for any arms dealer or manufacturer.You have clients but they aren't a sovereign state yet, they are going to work on how to legitimise themseleves using the arms you intend to supply.Then fortune smiles on you and you remember there several Third World states like DRC,Liberia(under Taylor) and a few others that don't have proper Government Procurement and Oversight.
The correct incentive to the right official guarantees the supply of several blank End User Certificates.How you use the Certficates is up to you.

Now the arms factory(and its host country) can sell the weapons to you and pretend they didn't know it was for a guerilla outfit(or semabargo busting) because you had all the documentation.

A really good movie that satirises the trade is Lord of war starring Nicholas Cage.

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