Report on Angola
This U.N. Security Council document thoroughly explores
how sanctions are implemented, and circumvented, in one
of Africa's most troubled states. It contains useful sections
on arms movement from Bulgaria and Ukraine, a brief biography
of arms trader Victor Bout, and information on conflict
diamonds funding Angola's 25-year-old civil war.
Report on Sierra Leone
A U.N. panel of experts discusses the transshipment of
weapons through Burkina Faso and Liberia. The report also
contains more information on the connection between the
diamond trade and the small-arms trade. The authors recommend
that rich nations that import diamonds help establish
stronger international standards to keep "conflict diamonds"
from funding destabilizing civil wars.
Report on Liberia
A panel of experts reports on arms trader Leonid Minin
and his connections with Liberian president, Charles Taylor.
The authors examine Liberia's major income sources --
diamonds, timber, rubber and maritime registries (also
known as flags of convenience) -- and how that income
stream can be diverted into destabilizing activities.
They say changes in air transport requirements in Liberia,
Guinea and Sierra Leone would make it more difficult for
gunrunners to operate.
Role of the United States
This Universal Press Syndicate opinion column comments on last year's U.N. Conference
on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in
All Its Aspects. The author says the United States "refused
to accept even the most modest global standards" for controlling
the illegal small-arms trade.
Arms Fixers: Controlling the Brokers and Shipping Agents
Published on the Web site of the Norwegian Initiative
on Small Arms Transfers, this book by arms experts
Brian Wood and Johan Peleman details the history of small-arms
transfers in regions of conflict such as Western Africa.
The authors outline how the Cold War has left both Western
and Eastern Bloc countries with old stockpiles of weapons
and the means to secretly deliver them to proxy armies.
These habits are hard to break, the authors say, and new
international guidelines must be put in place to strictly
regulate all arms sales.
The Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers is a
comprehensive database of international newspaper articles,
country profiles and in-house reports. The site, representing
a partnership of the Norwegian Red Cross and Norwegian
peace groups, focuses on the human rights problems associated
with the flow of guns to unstable regions such as Western
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Founded in 1966 by an act of the Swedish Parliament, this
think tank collects and studies data on modern military
technology, from small arms to biological, chemical and
nuclear weapons. The institute's mission is to provide
empirical data on armaments for researchers and policy
U.S. State Department Perspective
This June 2001 paper questions the United Nation's effectiveness
in stopping small-arms transfers to African countries.
The authors say that the "name and shame" strategy has
no effect on illicit arms dealers and their business partners.
They lay some blame on African nations themselves for
porous borders, corrupt officials and a lack of effective
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the International Diamond Trail
"With This Ring", a radio documentary series from American
RadioWorks, tells the story of diamonds, from the birth
of the DeBeers cartel a century ago to the relentless marketing
equating diamonds with love and the harsh realities of African
Witness on Conflict Diamonds
This U.K.-based NGO documents the connections between
natural resource exploitation and human rights violations,
and works to change policy. The site contains a chronology
of conflict-diamond legislation and the reactions of the
diamond business. It also provides links to and descriptions
of two industry groups, the World Diamond Council and
the Diamond High Council, created to deal with the issue.
Beyond conflict diamonds, other natural resources, such
as oil, timber and water, play a major role in most world
conflicts. The Global Policy Forum, which monitors U.N.
policy, has a rich database of articles and U.N. documents.
Can Be Bloody Too
This July 13, 2003 story by FRONTLINE/World co-producer
William Kistner for the Philadelphia Inquirer explores
a rarely-known aspect of the global conflict commoities
trade. Unwittingly, consumers in the United States are
buying conflict timber from a company related
to James Taylor, former president of Liberia indicted
for war crimes.
Hunters Fuel Africa's Brutal Wars"
This article compares today's largely
private exploitation of Africa's resources with the "scramble
for Africa" of the European imperial age. Filling a vacuum
left by the evaporation of the Cold War, foreign companies
and governments are flooding countries such as Sierra
Leone, playing rebels against governments to get access
to rich diamond mines. (The Washington Post, October 16,
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of Arms From Ukraine
This report takes the Ukrainian government
to task for ignoring a huge outflow of illegal weapons.
It cites a Ukrainian Parliament finding that $30
billion worth of armaments have been stolen and shipped
abroad. (The Christian Science Monitor, February 12, 2002)
Supply Side of the Illegal Arms Trade
Human Rights Watch builds on the U.N. report on Liberia
in this paper from November 15, 2001. The authors say
that U.N. embargoes "fail miserably" because of the weak
rule of law in former Eastern Bloc countries.
Systems to Iraq?
Read the transcript of an audiotape that purportedly features
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma approving the sale of
a high-tech radar system to Iraq. The system is capable
of detecting aircraft -- even those using stealth technology
-- and targeting them with anti-aircraft missiles. (Center
for Public Integrity Web site)
Takes Flak, Talks Back
This white paper from a Russian think tank acknowledges
that Ukraine may have exported weapons under questionable
circumstances and still needs to work on developing controls.
However, the authors claim that the continuing criticism
of Ukraine is unfair and comes primarily from competitors
in the global arms market. (Centre for Analysis of Strategies
and Technologies, "State Controls Over Sensitive Exports,"
and Cheap Guns
In this 1999 report, Human Rights Watch addresses the
broader issue of Cold War stockpiles and the economic
forces that drive the massive transfer of weapons abroad.
Describing their research as "a wake-up call for NATO,"
they recommend a Treaty-wide policy on arms transfers
from member nations.
This thoroughly researched report from Human Rights Watch
details the history, economics and practices of the Bulgarian
arms industry. According to the report, "Bulgaria has
earned a reputation as an anything-goes weapons bazaar
where Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars, anti-tank mines,
ammunition, explosives and other items are available for
a price -- no matter who the buyers are or how they might
use the deadly wares."
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News From Africa
A nominee for a 2002 Webby award for News (other nominees
include the BBC and Poynter Institute), AllAfrica.com posts
more than 700 new stories daily from over 100 African media
organizations. The site is searchable by region and country,
with daily headlines and special reports.
The Perspective is a Liberian news service published in
Atlanta, Georgia, by the Liberian Democratic Future. The
site has a clear political agenda, as evidenced by articles
such as "When a Psychopath Rules a Nation." Nonetheless,
the site has a point of view not found in mainstream
Liberia Asks West Africa to Help Fight Rebels
Over the past few weeks, fighting between Liberian President Charles
Taylor's government and rebels has heated up. (CNN.com, May 17, 2002)
Kabbah Declared Winner in Sierra Leone
In recent elections -- elections made possible by the UN
peacekeepers -- Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah defeated
the party of the rebels he fought. (CNN.com, May 19, 2002)
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