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Cause a War needs Guns!!

7.14.2005

While all of us are preoccupied trying to figure "good" muslims from "bad" ones and deciding where to bomb next in retaliation for (sorry, prevention of) terrorist attacks, the US is busy delaing with the logistics of a War on an abstract noun.
A joint press release from Amnesty, Oxfam and other arms trade campaigners cites a new deal at the UN regarding small arms and ammunitions. Anyone who has read the reports of recent events in the UK, would readily agree that controlling the flow of arms to failed states and areas like the Balkans with burgeoning arms black markets, is a pivotal pillar in controlling extremist capability to commit mass murder. Not so.
The US has taken sides with Egypt and the Devil incarnate Iran to make sure that, according to the release;
"The new UN agreement on a system to track small arms and light weapons is toothless and riddled with loopholes."
That this deal was negotiated behind closed doors should surprise no one. What should be a cold dose of reality is the fact that it only took a small number of countries to overturn the democratic will of the global community and impose a lax regime on small arms trading and explosives trading. Bear in mind the significance controlled explosive trading may have had on the success of the 7/7 attackers in attaining weaponry.
The loopholes are severly crippling to the goal of restricted arms trading internationally and undermining for anyone who desires to see rehabilitation for failed states in the international arena.
"for those countries who routinely sell weapons to the world’s worst regimes, it will be business as usual. There is more likelihood of being able to trace a missing suitcase than machine gun bullets." Anna Macdonald, Head of Campaigns for Oxfam.
Bearing in mind that the largest traders in Arms are the US and the UK, then this is cause for concern indeed. There is no legally binding mechanism and even if there was a clause which stipulates the sale may not be disclose under the cover of national security is enought to circumvent any outside observation of the activity of our only hyper-power and allies.
So the sale of arms to Uzbekistan, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey in the face of overwhelming evidence of state sponsored terror and mass human rights abuses, which have been cited in some quarters as contributing to radicalisation of young Muslims, is free to continue.
Added to this hypocritical stance is the fact that arms spending far outweighs spending on development and poverty relief both nationally and internationally in most arms exporters. If the stated aim of the US GWOT is to be believed then there are contradictions in this stance to be answered for. When the US and Iran are on the same side of the fence one must be dubious about the results and the reasons. This is only a victory for big business and the balance of trade in US and UK. There is small comfort here for the very people the GWOT is intended to reach out to and support.
A lisence to maintain the status-quo is not acceptable. We must demand our governments be serious about arms, serious about supporting dictators and human rights abusers and unafraid to accuse to the US of acting undemocratically in the international arena. We must desire arms control if not for our sake, for the sake of those like the protesters in Uzbekisatand killed by soldiers using British made and exported Military Land Rovers. Arms control is, alongside democracy and freedom, a key pillar to defeating international extremism. If that is truly an aim of the west then we have missed a major opportunity.
RR

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