Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The arms trade: A mega business

Ever wonder who buys and sells weapons big time?
An 84-page report titled Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2002-2009 showed that global military spending has now reached the Cold War levels, which means close to one trillion dollar-mega business. Any other businesses more profitable than that?
The author of the report, Richard F. Grimmet--a specialist in international security--said that the largest supplier of deadly weapons during the eight-year period are: the United States ($166.3-B, 40% of total sales), Russia ($74-B, 18%), France ($35.1-B, 8%), United Kingdom ($29.4-B, 7%), Germany ($19.7-B, 5%), China ($13.6-B, 3%), Italy ($12.5-B, 3%), Other European ($43.7-B, 10%), and Others (22.5-B, 5%).
Notice that the five permanent Member States of the UN Security Council are the leading players in the weapons sale: China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US.
The lengthy report further said that the top recipient developing nations of the arms are: Saudi Arabia ($39.9-B, 14% of total), India ($32.4-B, 11%), United Arab Emirates ($17.3-B, 6%), Egypt ($13.9-B, 5%), Venezuela ($12.7-B, 4%), Pakistan ($12.5-B, 4%), China ($11.7-B, 4%), South Korea ($9.8-B, 3%), Brazil ($8.6-B, 3%), Iraq ($8.1-B, 3%), and Others ($117.7-B, 41%).
It has been noted that there was a surge of arms transfer from non-traditional suppliers like Israel, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.
Arms sale has found a huge market in developing countries "where most of the potential for the outbreak of regional military conflicts currently exists."
A few of the weapons sold were: artillery (air and field defense artillery, mortars, rocket launchers and recoilless rifles), surface-to-air missiles (all ground-based air defense missiles); and surface-to-surface missiles (Scuds and CSS-2s).
With these data, it seems funny that the dole outs of rich countries to poor countries are nothing compared to the humongous profits from arms alone.
According to Control Arms--an international civil society partnership campaigning for bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty--arms sale is bolstering human suffering and poverty, and is also uncontrollable.
Remember these numbers: Over 2000 people-killed by arms each day; 8 million-the number of light weapons produced each year; and 12 billion-the number of bullets produced each year.
Details of this story here.

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