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  • Global military spending reaches new high

    Stockholm, June 11, 2007 - Global military spending, mainly driven by the United States and its ongoing "war on terrorism", rose to a new high in 2006, a respected peace institute said Monday in Stockholm. Last year, nations around the world spent 1,204 billion dollars (current rates) in military expenditures which equalled 184 dollars per capita, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

    The increase was 3.5 per cent in real terms on 2005, and 37 per cent on the 10-year-period 1997-2006, the SIPRI Yearbook said.

    The US accounted for some 62 per cent or 26 billion dollars of the total 39-billion-dollar increase in world military expenditure in 2006.

    The US had a 46-per-cent share of world military spending. The other top four military spenders - Britain, France, China and Japan - each accounted for 4 to 5 per cent.

    In its overview, SIPRI said that Western Europe and Central America were the only regions with a decrease in military expenditure in 2006.

    Russia's military expenditure rose by almost 12 per cent in real terms last year, a trend that started in 1998.

    In the Middle East, accurate figures for spending were hard to come by but Saudi Arabia remained the largest regional spender, followed by Israel and Iran, SIPRI said.

    In Africa, Algeria remained a leading military spender that in 2006 signed arms deals with Russia worth 10.5 billion dollars.

    China surpassed Japan as the biggest military spender in Asia, and became the world's fourth largest military spender in 2006.

    India remained the main military spender in South Asia. According to SIPRI, China and India accounted for 40 per cent of the region's spending.

    Combined arms sales from the world's top 100 companies, not including China, totalled 290 billion dollars for 2005, the latest year covered by SIPRI.

    Of the 100 companies, 40 were US-based, and accounted for 63 per cent of arms sales, SIPRI said. The 32 European companies had a 29- percent-share while nine in Russia, accounted for 2 per cent of sales. Companies in Japan, Israel and India had most of the remainder.

    The US and Russia were the world's largest arms exporters 2002- 2006, accounting for some 30 per cent each. China and India were the world's largest importers. Other large importers were Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    In its annual outlook, the institute said there were 17 major armed conflicts (defined as at least 1,000 killed in battle) in 2006. Asia was the region with the most armed conflicts.

    The yearbook also contained chapters on peacekeeping operations which reached a new high in the number of personnel deployed, attempts to contain the spread of nuclear weapons, energy and security.

    The Swedish parliament created SIPRI as an independent foundation in 1966.


  • #2
    "Pot", "kettle", "black"

    WASHINGTON, June 11, 2007 — The United States has questions about Algeria's military buildup.

    The State Department has been discussing Algeria's $7.5 billion arms purchase from Russia, a contract signed in 2006, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the Algerian order of hundreds of Russian-origin MiG-29s, Su-30 aircraft as well as T-90 main battle tanks appeared unnecessary.

    "It is my understanding that the Algerian government is pursuing a significant military deal with outside suppliers, in this case, I believe, Russia," Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said. "I am not certain that we would share the Algerian government's understanding of the requirements of such purchases, given their defense needs."

    The Algerian deal, the largest in at least 25 years, was meant to modernize the air force and army. Russia has pledged an accelerated delivery schedule and has already sent MiG-29SMTs and T-90s to Algeria.
    "We would probably see their requirements as more modest," Welch told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 6.

    At the same time, officials said, the State Department has assessed that Algeria would not exploit its military buildup against Morocco, a neighbor and rival. Algeria has been supporting the Polisario separatist group in the disputed Western Sahara, claimed by Morocco.

    "We don't see any indication that they [Algeria] intend to use these weapons, if they purchase these weapons, in an offensive manner against their neighbors," Welch said.

    Comment


    • #3
      Jeudi 14 juin 2007 -- Le processus de modernisation de l’Armée nationale populaire (ANP), engagé ces dernières années par le président Abdelaziz Bouteflika, semble déranger les Etats-Unis qui s’interrogent sur l’important accord conclu l’an dernier entre l’Algérie et la Russie.

      Le département d’Etat américain a examiné avant-hier la question des contrats d’armement de 7,5 milliards de dollars conclus par l’Algérie et la Russie. Cet examen intervient cependant plus d’une année après la signature officielle de l’accord entre Algériens et Russes, lors de la visite historique à Alger du président russe Vladimir Poutine, le 10 mars 2006.

      A propos de cette transaction, le secrétaire d’Etat adjoint américain aux Affaires du Maghreb et du Proche-orient David Welsh a estimé que «les acquisitions militaires algériennes n’étaient pas nécessaires». «Le gouvernement algérien est en train de concrétiser une transaction importante avec des fournisseurs étrangers dont la Russie», a déclaré M. Welsh cité par la presse américaine.»Je ne suis pas certain que nous partagions la même compréhension de la nécessité qu’a le gouvernement algérien de procéder à de telles acquisitions, y compris pour les besoins de défense», a ajouté le responsable américain qui s’exprimait devant la commission des affaires étrangères du Sénat américain.

      L’Algérie et la Russie avaient conclu un accord portant sur l’effacement de la dette algérienne contre l’acquisition de biens et services russes, dont des équipements militaires, le 10 mars 2006. Moscou s’était engagé à effacer la dette de l’Algérie, estimée à 4,7 milliards de dollars.

      En contrepartie, l’Algérie avait accepté de passer commande d’équipements pour 7,5 milliards de dollars, selon des sources russes. Le contrat global porte sur la livraison de 34 chasseurs MIG-29 SMT, 28 chasseurs Su-30 MKI et 14 avions d’entraînement et de combat Yak-130 (pour un total de 3,5 milliards de dollars).

      De plus, 36 MIG-29 de l’ancienne version, seront renvoyés en Russie pour être vendus à des pays tiers. Il est prévu aussi la livraison de 8 systèmes de missiles S-300 PMU-2 pour la DCA (un milliard de dollars), 30 batteries sol-air Toungouska, d’une valeur de près de 500 millions de dollars, la modernisation de 250 chars T-72, pour plus de 200 millions de dollars, et la livraison de missiles antichars Metis et Kornet, ainsi que la réparation de navires des forces navales algériennes.

      Selon M. Welsh, «beaucoup pourraient considérer les acquisitions algériennes de très modestes». Toutefois, le diplomate américain a assuré que l’Algérie n’a pas l’intention d’utiliser ses acquisitions militaires contre ses voisins, notamment le Maroc, qui vient de commander 18 avions de combat français Rafale pour neuf milliards de dollars destinés à remplacer ses vieux Mirage F1 et s’apprête à acquérir des lance-missiles russes portables Kornet et Toungouska.

      «Il n’y a aucune indication qui laisse penser que l’Algérie projette d’utiliser ses éventuelles acquisitions dans une option offensive contre ses voisins», a souligné M. Welsh. Il convient de rappeler que le président Bouteflika avait lui aussi assuré en 2004 qu’il n’y aura pas de «casus belli» entre l’Algérie et le Maroc.

      Le président Bouteflika avait annoncé dès 1999 son intention de moderniser les équipements militaires de l’ANP et de professionnaliser ses effectifs, une option rendue nécessaire face aux défis de sécurité et de stabilité auxquels est exposée l’Algérie depuis 1992.

      Le choix était devenu vital, au moment où l’Algérie était soumise à un embargo concernant ses approvisionnements en armes pendant les années de lutte contre le terrorisme. L’Algérie avait d’ailleurs décidé de diversifier ses fournisseurs en armes, et les Etats-Unis, premiers exportateurs d’armes dans le monde, lui avaient fourni, durant ces dernières années, des équipements militaires destinés principalement à la lutte contre le terrorisme.

      De plus, l’Algérie avait fait part de ses besoins d’assurer la sécurité d’un territoire quatre fois plus grand que la France, et au vu de sa position névralgique au milieu de six Etats qui fait d’elle le pays le plus exposé aux risques de conflits armés à ses frontières et à l’apparition de groupes terroristes dans le grand Sahara.

      L’Algérie est jugée par Washington comme un partenaire stratégique en matière de lutte contre le terrorisme et un partenaire économique majeur, notamment dans le domaine des hydrocarbures. Les Etats-Unis avaient sollicité récemment l’Algérie pour accueillir le nouveau centre de commandement militaire américain en Afrique (Africom), dont le lancement est prévu à partir de septembre 2008.

      Cette demande avait essuyé un niet catégorique de l’Algérie.

      Comment


      • #4
        Mardi 26 juin 2007 -- L’information, rapportée avant-hier par l’agence russe Interfax-AVN cite un responsable du constructeur russe qui a estimé la conclusion du contrat de livraison d’une escadrille supplémentaire d’une dizaine d’avions de chasse de type MiG-29 SMT à l’Algérie pour le court terme.

        Le contrat initial annoncé officiellement, après plusieurs mois de négociations, en mars 2006, à l’occasion de la visite à Alger du président russe Vladmir Poutine, porte sur la livraison de 34 MiG-29 SMT à l’Algérie dont une dizaine a déjà été livrée.

        Selon M. Tsivilyov, la satisfaction de la nouvelle commande devrait intervenir dans deux à trois ans. «Lorsque nous aurons exécuté le contrat principal qui prévoit la livraison des appareils et la formation des pilotes et techniciens algériens, le contrat supplémentaire sera signé puis exécuté», a-t-il dit.

        Le responsable russe a ajouté qu’en plus de l’Algérie d’autres partenaires et clients traditionnels de la Russie comme l’Inde et le Yémen devraient eux aussi acquérir le nouveau modèle du MiG-29 SMT dont la version améliorée a été présentée aux potentiels clients lors du Salon international du Bourget qui s’est tenu dernièrement dans la banlieue parisienne.

        La livraison d’un troisième lot de 4 autres MiG 29 SMT à l’Algérie est programmée avant la fin du mois de septembre, a fait savoir M. Tsivilyov, précisant que ces avions étaient dans la chaîne de production à l’usine MAPO de Moscou.

        Quant à la livraison globale, elle devrait prendre fin avant la fin de l’année, a-t-il estimé. Les MiG-29 SMT font partie d’une commande pour l’armée de l’air et comprend 28 chasseurs Su-30 MKI et 14 avions d’entraînement et de combat Yak-130 pour un montant de 3,5 milliards de dollars.

        De plus, 36 MiG-29 de l’ancienne version devraient être repris par la Russie pour être revendus à des pays tiers. Selon sa fiche technique, le MIG-29 SMT est un monoplace chasseur et intercepteur. Il est présenté comme supérieur au F-15 C américain.

        Sa version modernisée le dote de performances hors normes, notamment en ce qui concerne son rayon d’action et son endurance. Cet appareil de 4e génération, mais utilisant des équipements de 5e génération, est un avion de supériorité aérienne tactique, développé par les bureaux de design Mikoyan-Gurevich.

        L’Algérie et la Russie avaient conclu un accord portant effacement de la dette algérienne contre l’acquisition de biens et services russes, dont des équipements militaires. Moscou s’était engagée à effacer la dette de l’Algérie, estimée à 4,7 milliards de dollars.

        En contrepartie, l’Algérie avait confirmé des contrats pour 7,5 milliards de dollars et, compte tenu des options, les achats pourraient atteindre plus de 10 milliards de dollars. Les contrats prévoient aussi une livraison de 300 chars T-90S (pour un milliard de dollars) dont 54 ont été réceptionnés en décembre dernier, huit systèmes de missiles S-300 PMU-2 pour les divisions de DCA (un milliard de dollars), 30 batteries sol-air Toungouska (pour près de 500 millions de dollars), la modernisation de 250 chars T-72 (pour plus de 200 millions de dollars) et la livraison de missiles antichars Metis et Kornet, ainsi que la réparation des navires des forces navales algériennes.

        Comment


        • #5
          August 29, 2007 -- Ukraine, one of the world’s top 10 arms exporting countries, earned some $750 million through weaponry sales to 19 countries in 2006, with exports to Azerbaijan and China leading the way, according to the country’s annual report to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

          Azerbaijan received 17 battle tanks, while 20 were bought by the Congo and one was purchased by the United States. Ukraine has reported the transfer of more than 720 tanks to 11 different countries since the country joined the voluntary reporting mechanism established by the UN nearly 15 years ago.

          Azerbaijan and the Congo also purchased 23 armored combat vehicles, while 50 armored combat vehicles (ACV) were delivered to Iraq and 10 to Nigeria. Earlier this month, Ukraine won a contract to supply 96 ACVs for $117 million to Thailand, which will take two years to complete.

          In addition, Azerbaijan acquired 13 units of large-caliber artillery, according to the report published this month.

          Ukraine also exported 17 combat aircraft to Azerbaijan, 12 to Yemen, six to Belarus, five to Vietnam, four to Sri Lanka, three to the US, two to Great Britain, and one airplane each to Estonia, Lithuania, New Zealand, South Africa, the Czech Republic and Uganda, for a total of 55 aircraft in 2006. Algiers imported 32 missiles and mobile missile launch systems from Ukraine, while Kazakhstan received 12. The most Ukrainian missile systems were acquired by China – 590 in 2006. The US increased its purchases of parts of Ukrainian “mobile zenith rocket complexes” to 295 units, which include rockets and mobile launch systems.

          In 2005, Ukraine shipped only six launch mechanisms and 29 rockets for the Holka zenith launch system to the US. In 2003, the US acquired 10 launch mechanisms and 29 rockets. In the past five years, Ukraine has increased its world arms market share from 4 percent to 10 percent, earning the country $750 million annually, according to Serhiy Zhurets of the Center for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies. By way of comparison, Russia, earns $5-7 billion annually. Zhurets pointed out that the UN registry does not cover all military exports, like radar equipment and firearms.

          “The arms export business will never be fully transparent and open in any country,” said Zhurets. He said that in addition to the UN registry, efforts to tabulate data on exports are conducted by the US Congress and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which pegged Ukraine’s arms exports for last year at only $118 million. He said that the US Congress six-year estimate for Ukraine’s weapons exports stood at more than $2 billion.

          Like Ukraine, Russia reported no conventional arms imports for last year. For 2006, Russia reported selling 30 battle tanks to Algeria, a total of 114 ACVs to Bangladesh, Colombia, Kazakhstan and Uruguay and 100 large-caliber artillery systems to Myanmar. In terms of the sea, Russia sold two warships to China, which was also the destination for 944 missiles and missile launchers.

          By contrast, Ukraine has reported shipping more than 1,000 missile and launch systems to China since 2000. Export data from Ukraine and Russia are among the few open sources available to the international community regarding Chinese military imports and exports.

          China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, stopped participating in the voluntary reporting program more than 10 years ago, after the US included arms exports to Taiwan in its 1995 and 1996 reports.

          Meanwhile, Russia’s South American ally Venezuela was empowered with four combat aircraft and 14 attack helicopters in 2006, according to the UN’s disarmament website. Ukraine delivered 320 T-80UD tanks to Pakistan during 1996-1999 in a deal that was reportedly worth $550 million.

          The UN’s Register of Conventional Arms is a voluntary reporting mechanism established in 1992 aimed at promoting transparency in the international arms trade. On average, more than 115 of 192 UN member states have reported each year since 2000.

          In the late 1990s, a governmental investigation found that the military equipment inherited by Ukraine after the demise of the Soviet Union was worth nearly $90 billion.

          Comment


          • #6
            September 10, 2007 -- Information released this morning reveals that the [British] Government has invited a number of oppressive regimes to send representatives to an arms fair in London which begins tomorrow.

            China, Libya, Colombia, Russia and Saudi Arabia, all widely criticised for severe human rights abuses, have been invited to the biennial fair run by Reed Elsevier.

            Reed is expected to struggle to sell the fair in a year that has seen many businesses respond to public opinion by distancing themselves from the arms trade.

            The Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) is being held in the Excel Centre from Tuesday 11 - Friday 14 September 2007.

            Iraq has been invited as well as both India and Pakistan, who are in tension with each other.

            Following the revelations, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) repeated its call for an end to DSEi.

            A peaceful demonstration organised by CAAT will begin with a march from Plaistow Park followed by a rally which will be addressed by the comedian and writer Mark Thomas. He will be joined by CAAT's Anna Jones, local councillor Alan Craig and Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry.

            Anna Jones of CAAT said: "The guest list reveals the real nature of DSEi - a chance for arms companies to sell weapons with no regard to human rights. I am confident that the British public respect human rights and do not want their country hosting this event. Even DSEi's owners have responded to public opinion and decided to sell it. It is now vital that the Government recognises the strength of public feeling and ensures that 2007 sees the end of DSEi."

            Writer and comedian Mark Thomas said: "I attended the last DSEi, where military delegations from human rights-abusing nations were well in attendance, including China who had an official escort around the arms fair, despite the fact that there is an EU embargo on selling arms to China. The multitude of arms dealers gathered from around the world to flog guns, bombs and the other wherewithal to take human life while Londoners pay a £4million police bill to protect them makes DSEi unacceptable and unwelcome."

            The full list of countries invited to DSEi by the UK Government is as follows:

            Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Trinidad & Tobago, UAE, USA and Vietnam

            Comment


            • #7
              Need some surface-to-surface missiles? In the market for grenade launchers or plastic explosives? Manufacturers and customers meet every two years in London for the world's largest arms fair. In the age of terror, business is booming in the secretive sector:

              September 28, 2007 -- Warships are on sale at the Royal Victoria Dock in east London. Corvettes, frigates and mine-sweepers lie at anchor in the dark gray waters of the Thames, their holds filled with potential buyers. Men from faraway places, sweating in their suits and ties, stumble up and down stairways, through machine rooms and across bridges. They ask specialist questions about frequency and code agility, lateral drift and hydroacoustic noise levels.

              At the head of the wharf, on the "Nyköping," a new Swedish stealth ship, Chinese delegates are photographing individual screws and every weld seam in sight, while heavyset men from Africa and Southeast Asia bump their shins against pipes and equipment.

              "Don't be fooled by the 620 tons of dead weight," says the officer on duty, a jovial Swede, speaking as one expert to another. "As far as performance goes, you are dealing here with a classic 1,200-ton, steel-hulled corvette."

              On the wharf, the cavernous ExCel London conference center is chock full of equipment. There are surface-to-surface missiles, cruise missiles, armored personnel carriers and artillery guns as tall as buildings, their barrels pointing to the ceiling. Smart bombs stand in display cases, looking like so many oversized perfume bottles, and British soldiers demonstrate lightweight devices used to fill sandbags. Heavy-set men in sports jackets play around with armor-piercing shoulder-mounted guns, drink white wine on the beds of military trucks and kick the tires of Humvees with their polished loafers.

              Potential customers can examine scale models of combat helicopters and nuclear submarines, organizational charts of weapon guidance systems and samples of non-magnetic steel. They hold pistols, grenade launchers and intimidating machine guns in their hands as if they were party favors. At booth 533, Hesco, a maker of protective wall systems, has blondes in hot pants serving up cold beer.

              It's September 11, 2007, the sixth anniversary of 9/11, and the global war on terror is in full swing. Nevertheless, or perhaps precisely because of that fact, people from around the world have been converging on the ExCel exhibition center in hordes since the show opened in the morning. Against the bold backdrop of Canary Wharf, and the even bolder outline of the London skyline on the western horizon, a unique trade fair has opened its doors. It's called the Defence Systems & Equipment International Exhibition (DSEI), and it is the world's largest assemblage of products from the arms and defense industry - the fifth edition of a biennial of war, complete with country pavilions, a "Night Vision Pavillion," and an "Innovation Showcase."

              By noon the "Boulevard," the central mall of the ExCel center, is teeming with emissaries from around the world. Exactly 25,699 visitors will come and go over the course of the four-day event. Eighty-five official government delegations from 52 countries are registered, and the exhibitors include, for the first time, Bulgarians, Turks, Lithuanians and Russians. Inside the halls they join the 1,352 other exhibitors on 66,000 square meters (709,677 square feet) of exhibition space, and during their short breaks they wolf down pastrami bagels from paper bags and rinse them down with large cups of takeaway coffee. Projection screens on the walls display video clips of F-16 fighter jets in flight, interrupted by colorful ads and confident slogans like: "Proud to Serve" and "Your Partner in Action."

              Bottles of Veuve Cliquot champagne sit on ice in the West Quay Bar and the VIP Café. There are plenty of reasons for weapons manufacturers to be celebrating. The industry is booming, not just because of the war on terror, but also because the world is feeling insecure because of the myriad dangers that mark the beginning of the 21st century. The arms industry is a billion-dollar market, and "the key parameters are right," writes Jane's Defence Weekly, the leading industry publication. The business is doing well, or at least it isn't doing badly, despite cost pressures, budget cuts and increased competition from Asia.

              Can you buy weapons here? "It depends," says Robert Galvin, a slim, unassuming, bespectacled man in his mid-thirties who works for BAE Systems, formerly known as British Aerospace. Galvin runs the company's land-based systems unit, an important position. In 2006 BAE, the world's third-largest weapons manufacturer, earned €18 billion in revenues, selling all manner of equipment that flies, floats, rolls, shoots, explodes and kills.

              An M777 howitzer, a huge, four-and-a-half-ton machine, its barrel as long as a semi truck, is set up in front of the BAE booth. The gun, loaded with 155-millimeter grenades, has a range of 24 kilometers (15 miles).

              "A very useful weapon," says Galvin, "quite effective in subduing enemy movements." And the price? "It's negotiable," says Galvin, "but just to give you an idea: The United States has placed an order for 605 of them, which we will deliver in three batches, and it's a $900 million deal." So one of the howitzers costs about $1.5 million? "If you put it that way," says Galvin, beads of perspiration gathering around his nose. And what if someone, an ordinary private citizen, for example, had the necessary cash to buy one of these howitzers? "You mean for the front garden?" Galvin asks. "Well, let's put it this way: We don't deliver to front gardens and also not to back yards. No way."

              Rumors and hard news make the rounds in the aisles between the booths during the trade fair. They depict a world that ordinary citizens never see. The British are seeking partners for their €20 billion Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), which will translate into Her Majesty's Army ordering 3,000 new armor-plated vehicles in the near future.

              Saudi Arabia wants 72 Eurofighters at a cost of €6.4 billion. India is talking to Saab about a new fighter jet, and there is talk of an option for 126 of the jets, for starters. Rumor has it that Artec, a consortium of the companies Stork, Krauss-Maffei Wegman and Rheinmetall, is overwhelmed by orders for its Boxer armored personnel carrier. The French Thales Group has reached an agreement with Raytheon for the delivery of 5,000 target detection systems for missiles. The US Army has ordered another 33 Stryker armored personnel carriers from General Dynamics. Big things are happening, and moving, at the DSEI. Every conversation here is practically an affair of state, every deal is a slice of global politics and every contract signed a new chapter in international "defense cooperation."

              Comment


              • #8
                continued.....

                Can you buy weapons here? An attempt to do so at the stand of missile manufacturer MBDA, where two slender multilingual hostesses wearing identical outfits sit at the booth's reception desk gazing at computer monitors, fails miserably. The company played a leading role in developing a new smart missile, the Fire Shadow, which, after flying 150 kilometers (93 miles) in confusing circles and loops, is capable of striking its target with deadly precision. The drab gray missile looks harmless enough, almost like a failed model airplane. According to the brochure, it causes "minimal collateral damage."

                "Hello, I'm interested in the Fire Shadow."

                One of the hostesses, who is wearing glasses, flashes a bright smile and says, in English with a French accent: "Sure, let me take a look... Do you have a business card?"

                "Yes, here it is."

                "Oh, you're a journalist?" She is no longer smiling. "Well, I could give you a press kit."

                "I'd rather talk to someone."

                "I understand," she says, suddenly busy with her mouse. "I'm very sorry, sir," she says, "but the gentlemen are all in meetings for the entire day."

                The same thing happens at Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons manufacturer. The company's annual sales of €27 billion are almost equal to Germany's entire defense budget. The group's booth, the size of an entire country pavilion, is divided into "issues" and "solutions" for "critical tasks."

                Lockheed Martin can procure anything, from binoculars to fighter jets. A dozen attractive women sit at the reception desk, ready, at all times, to "find you exactly the right contact person." But anyone who introduces himself as a journalist suddenly discovers that all the right contact people happen to be busy at the moment. "Perhaps you could try again in two hours?" one of the receptionists suggests.

                The DSEI is an extremely discrete affair, not as noisy and colorful as computer trade fairs or as glitzy as auto shows. The defense industry and its customers comprise the world's biggest private club, and its events are playgrounds for experts. On the Thursday of the trade fair week, the true VIPs attend a gala dinner at the Dorchester Hotel opposite Hyde Park. It would be easier to get an audience with the pope than a seat at the DSEI bash.

                These industry insiders are more than happy to isolate themselves, work behind the scenes and gather at a major event that remains largely unnoticed by the general public. Aside from the occasional two-column story in the financial sections of newspapers, arms deals remain largely a private affair. And as long as the deals themselves are not too controversial, like selling submarines to rogue states, tanks to dictators, or assault rifles to despots, no one is really interested in scrutinizing this world too closely. For example, how much airtime did the German army's order for 272 Boxers get on the evening news? How much media attention is given to the United Arab Emirates' efforts to boost their military capability and the fact that they are particularly fond of German products?

                At the Pakistan stand, rows of glass cases contain brightly polished ammunition, shells of every caliber, rockets, grenades, 250-kilogram aircraft bombs, plastic explosives and sticks of dynamite - in short, everything the defence company Pakistan Ordnance Factories has to offer. The press isn't welcome here, either. Photographers are quickly shooed away and conversations are terse. "Our best products?" the salesman says. "They are all best products. Here, the surface-to-air missiles, tested many times, and here, the 120-millimeter grenades, they have a 'kill radius' of close to 200 meters (656 feet), all best products. And now thank you and goodbye."

                It is difficult to decide what stance one should adopt vis-à-vis the DSEI. Who would want to stage protests when the police forces of democratic countries come here to inquire about new service-issue guns? Who would seriously call the attendees "murderers" when the US Coast Guard is here to scout around for new radar systems? Even when it comes to the weapons of war, one has to wonder whether, in the world in which we live today, it is a scandal if the United States sells missiles to Italy, or Germany manufactures tanks in a joint venture with the Netherlands.

                Those are the easy questions. Others are more difficult. What is Turkey doing with the Leopard tanks it bought from Germany last year? Is Pakistan, which ranks 160th out of 163 countries on the non-governmental organization Transparency International's list of countries ranked by level of corruption, truly a credible "partner?" Are new weapons systems in good hands when they end up in Russia - or in Chechnya? Should Libya really be invited to an arms fair, like at this year's DSEI? Does Algeria handle its weapons responsibly?

                There are many contradictions and many different "perspectives." Countries that are on the European Union's list of rogue state could be allies of the United States, or vice-versa. In 2004, Slovakia sold fighter jets to Armenia, which is under an EU arms embargo. Azerbaijan, another country on the EU's blacklist, buys tanks and other heavy equipment from Ukraine.

                And no one knows the true extent of the illegal weapons trade, although experts all agree it is very large. The weapons trade is a cat-and-mouse game for international monitoring agencies, and the smaller the weapons, the more difficult it is to control their proliferation.

                It's a subject that Glock probably knows a lot about, even if it prefers to ignore it. At booth 1873 in the Austrian pavilion, Richard Flür nods his head and says thoughtful things. Flür is the youthful marketing director at Glock, a pistol maker so legendary that the name even appears in the script of the action flick "Die Hard 2." Around 5 million Glock handguns are in circulation worldwide, all distributed according to the strictest criteria, according to Flür. "Our company's reputation is only as good as the reputation of our worst customers," he says.

                But is it even possible to prevent proliferation? Flür nods his head again. Glock is now developing memory chips, he says, that will make every weapon traceable. Major customers who come to Austria are videotaped during negotiations and their voices are recorded. "You know, our criteria are very strict," says Flür. "In fact, Austria is a leader in this regard."

                Despite the man's thoughtful demeanor, the Glock booth is easily the convention's most vulgar. Glossy posters juxtapose the ergonomic shapes of semi-automatic weapons with the erotic curves of nude female bodies. Anyone approaching the booth from a distance could be forgiven for thinking that Glock is in the condom business. But the customers like the image, says one of Flür's English coworkers: "They love it, you know - girls and guns."

                Comment


                • #9
                  continued.....

                  The DSEI is a nightmare for pacifists. They tried, unsuccessfully, to put an end to the London fair. On the first day, 150 peace activists manage to position themselves along the outermost fence, far from the western gate to the exhibition grounds. On subsequent days the only remaining protestors are small groups holding up banners in the cold wind, surrounded by very large groups of police. They call out "murderer, murderer" whenever taxis drive by, and in Hyde Park in downtown London, they dye the water in a few fountains blood red in protest. But out on the Royal Victoria Dock, the hordes of visitors go about their business, completely unfazed.

                  What are the main issues of the convention? Wolfgang Baumbach, an old hand in the German defense industry, should know. He was there at the first German group booth in Turkey in 1991, when the "idea" for the DSEI was born. Much has changed since then. Freedom is now being defended in Afghanistan, and Germans can feel comfortable flying their flag once again.

                  A framed portrait of German President Horst Köhler hangs above the bar in the guest lounge at the German pavilion, where Weiss beer, bratwurst and goulash are on the hospitality menu. Baumbach says: "GPS is an issue, undoubtedly." Innovations in small devices are also hot this year, apparently. "The big companies have moved away from in-house production, for reasons of shareholder value," says Baumbach. "Now they're outsourcing everything, which results in a real surge of innovations."

                  He takes me to a few booths to illustrate his point. Spelco is displaying a new type of gliding device that allows paratroopers to fly several kilometers before opening their parachutes. The German army is showcasing the Mikado, a propeller-driven surveillance drone manufactured by AirRobot. The soldiers manning the booth, Colonel Udo Kalbfleisch and First Lieutenant Ramon Grünbein, say the device will undoubtedly be a big seller. "And do you know what's also an issue?" Baumbach asks. "We have a shortage of engineers. EADS needs 3,000 people. That's an issue."

                  As the world's current leading exporter, Germany naturally plays an important role in the arms trade. Last year, the country sold 156 Leopard I and Leopard II tanks to Greece and 48 to Turkey. Ninety-nine M113 armored troop transporters were sold to Lithuania and two mine-sweeping ships to the United Arab Emirates. South Africa has taken delivery of the first of three German submarines, while Finland purchased two mobile anti-aircraft systems. And that's just the big-ticket items - the trade in smaller products has been even more lucrative.

                  German companies shipped close to 42,000 small arms to countries around the world last year, including 10,411 grenade launchers to Great Britain and 1,400 assault rifles to Latvia, with a further 2,025 assault rifles going to Mexico. Saudi Arabia purchased 1,030 semi-automatic rifles; Malaysia bought 505.

                  Despite these impressive figures, the mood at the Heckler & Koch booth is not good. Hilmar Rein is clearly uninterested in talking to the press, and the question as to whether one could buy weapons from him falls on deaf ears. "Perhaps you should go to China if you'd like to buy 10,000 pistols," he advises. "Or to Afghanistan, where they make the things themselves. We here sell tools for police officers and soldiers, and everything is done in an orderly fashion."

                  "Armor-clad vehicles are big this year," says a very British gentleman at the booth operated by US vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh, "and, of course, unmanned vehicles." Oshkosh has conducted tests in which it sent 30 unmanned trucks on a 132-mile journey through the desert near Las Vegas. The trucks took eight hours to complete the course, and there were no incidents. A new test run is planned for October "in an urban environment" - if it is similarly successful, ghost convoys could soon be rolling through enemy territory in future wars, machines under fire from other machines. It's an otherworldly concept, but one that the people at the DSEI are busy transforming into reality.

                  Old cranes from the mechanical age stand on the wharf near the ships, on the southern edge of the exhibition center, reminders of a bygone era in a new world of technological wonders. London, with Canary Wharf on the other side and the City off to the west, doesn't look like the capital of a country that conducts wars in the Middle East. And after four days at the DSEI, a visitor might ask himself whether wars were even what the whole trade fair was really about.

                  Men walk around in suits and ties - exhibitors, middlemen, delegates - smoking and making telephone calls in all of the world's languages, sending emails with their Blackberrys and discussing "solutions," "responses" and "systems." They're really talking about guns, radar equipment and stealth bombers.

                  This is what goes on for a full four days at this weapons fair. On Friday, the last day of the show, when the aisles empty early, the dealers at the booths fill large glasses with white wine and drink to a hard week. They've had to talk about many issues but, oddly enough, war and peace were not among them. It was all just about solutions, responses and systems.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    NEW DELHI, October 3, 2007: Centuries ago, Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu proclaimed, "all warfare is based on deception". To this day, China actively pursues this strategy, keeping its defence expenditure, arms imports, capabilities and strategic intentions shrouded in secrecy.

                    Take, for instance, China's defence budget for the 2007 fiscal. Officially, China's pegs it around $45 billion, which in itself represents a double-digit hike for the 19th year in succession. But estimates by independent strategic institutes and experts show China's total military spending in 2007 will actually hover around $100 billion.

                    The US Defence Intelligence Agency, on its part, estimates it will be in the range from $85 billion to $125 billion.

                    The opaqueness surrounding the defence figures of China, by far the biggest military spender in Asia, also means it sometimes does not figure in the top 10 list of arms importers.

                    As reported by TOI, the latest US Congressional Research Service’s report on "conventional arms transfers to developing nations" holds that Pakistan for the first time outstripped India in 2006 to clinch arms deals.

                    If Pakistan notched up deals worth $5.1 billion, India stood second with $3.5 billion. The two nuclear-armed neighbours were followed by Saudi Arabia ($3.2 billion), Venezuela ($3.1 billion), Algeria ($2.1 billion) and Israel ($2.1 biilion), among others.

                    China, however, was missing from this particular list. It did, however, find mention as the second largest arms recipient in the 1996-2006 timeframe, with a total of $17.4 billion. India, of course, stood first with $22.4 billion in this category.

                    But the $17.4 billion figure, too, seems to be a gross underestimation, say experts. Between 2000 and 2005, for instance, China imported $11 billion worth of weapon systems from Russia alone, including Kilo-class submarines, Sovremenny-class destroyers, Sukhoi-27 and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets.

                    Take another example. Israel sold around 50 anti-radar Harpy UAVs, which can act like cruise missiles, to China in the late 1990s. But US, much to its chagrin, learnt about this secret deal only in 2004. "China has a certain opacity about its defence expenditure and military imports. Hence, arriving at any accurate determination is always elusive," says defence analyst C Uday Bhaskar.

                    "In the next 10 years, my sense is that Chinese military expenditure will cross $1 trillion. The focus in its acquisition pattern is on trans-border military capabilities, both in terms of delivery of ordnance as well as surveillance," he adds.

                    Already apprehensive of the rapidly modernising 2.5-million strong People's Liberation Army, India remains wary of China's development of military infrastructure in Tibet as well as its expanding military cooperation with countries in India’s backyard like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Seychelles and the like.

                    "Pakistan may be more of an in-your-face threat but we can never relax our guard against China. It's the real long term threat," says a senior Army officer. Pointing to China's quest for new capabilities like anti-satellite weapons, Bhaskar, in turn, says, "The trans-border military index between India and China will grow in the latter's favour. Moreover, if the ongoing Sino-Pakistan military cooperation continues, India will face a very complex challenge."

                    Even the US is unnerved by the sheer pace of China's military modernisation. The US, in fact, has singled out China as a country with the "greatest potential to compete militarily" with it, holding that Beijing's rapid military build-up in the last decade "puts regional military balances at risk".

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                    • #11
                      Global military spending reaches new high


                      Mardi 18 Mars 2008 -- L'Algérie négocie actuellement avec trois pays européens – la France, l'Espagne et la Grande-Bretagne - en vue d'acquérir des frégates pour le compte des forces navales nationales, a appris toutsurlalgerie.com auprès de sources de défense. Ces acquisitions, dont le nombre n'a pas été précisé, vont permettre à l'Algérie d'amorcer la mise en place d'une véritable force navale. Actuellement, la marine algérienne est jugée parmi les moins performantes en Méditerranée.

                      Contrairement aux autres forces – terrestres et aériennes - les forces navales du pays n'ont pas bénéficié du dernier programme d'achat d'armes lancé par l'Algérie en 2006 pour plusieurs milliards de dollars. Acquis essentiellement auprès des russes, les navires que possède actuellement la marine algérienne ont deux inconvénients : « ils ne peuvent être armés efficacement et pose le problème de l'interopérabilité avec la marine des pays de l'Otan », explique à toutsurlalgerie.com un spécialiste des questions militaires.

                      Pour renforcer ses forces navales, Alger va s'appuyer sur les pays de l'Otan, une organisation avec laquelle l'Algérie est désormais liée par un accord de partenariat stratégique. Mais contrairement aux informations publiées récemment, la France n'est pas assurée de remporter ce marché. Les Britanniques et les Espagnols possèdent également des offres jugées aussi intéressantes que les frégates françaises.

                      Une chose semble toutefois acquise : une fois n'est pas coutume, les Algériens ne mènent pas de négociations avec les Russes, leurs fournisseurs militaires traditionnels. La cause ? Les navires militaires russes sont jugés d'une qualité nettement inférieure à ceux de leurs concurrents des pays de l'Otan. Et depuis l'accident, le 12 août 2000, du sous-marin russe à propulsion nucléaire Koursk dans la mer de Barentz (118 victimes parmi l'équipage), la marine russe, malgré des moyens colossaux alloués par le Moscou, continue d'avoir une image négative auprès des spécialistes de la défense, privant ainsi les Russes de juteux contrats auprès de pays comme l'Algérie.

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Jeudi 27 Mars 2008 -- L'Algérie réceptionnera en 2009 un nouveau sous-marin classique de fabrication russe. La marine nationale a entamé la formation de sous-mariniers pour prendre possession de son troisième sous-marin. Des équipes seront envoyées sur le chantier naval russe de St-Petersbourg où sont fabriqués les sous-marins.

                        L'Algérie dispose actuellement de deux sous-marins opérationnels de fabrication russe. La marine nationale devra réceptionner un quatrième sous-marin en 2010 pour renforcer ses moyens militaires. Le Maroc a, de son côté, tenté d'acquérir quatre sous marins, mais le projet n'a pas abouti faute de financement. Plus riche que son voisin de l'ouest grâce aux recettes pétrolières et gazières engrangées ces dernières années, l'Algérie compte s'affirmer comme la seule puissance militaire maghrébine.

                        Seul pays maghrébin qui dispose de sous-marins, l'Algérie compte acquérir quatre frégates. L'Allemagne serait bien placée pour décrocher ce marché, devant la France et la Russie. Actuellement, la marine algérienne ne dispose pas de frégates.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          March 27, 2008 -- The Pentagon entrusted a 22-year old previously arrested for domestic violence and having a forged driving licence to be the main supplier of ammunition to Afghan forces at the height of the battle against a resurgent Taliban, it was reported today.

                          AEY, essentially a one-man operation based in an unmarked office in Miami Beach, was awarded a contract worth $300m to supply the Afghan army and police in January last year.

                          But as the New York Times reported in a lengthy investigation, AEY's president, Efraim Diversoli, 22, supplied stock that was 40 years old and rotting packing material.

                          "Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the state department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed," the paper said.

                          The report on AEY was the latest instance in the post-9/11 world of a previously unknown private firm securing a lucrative defence contract in Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush administration's policy of privatising growing aspects of the military.

                          "Operations like this pop up like mushrooms after the rain," said Milton Bearden, a former CIA official who in the 1980s was in charge of arming Afghan rebel groups fighting the former Soviet Union.

                          "For the most part the US or coalition forces will stick with the Warsaw Pact weapons and munitions systems that were already being used by the Afghans or the Iraqis. That means there becomes an almost insatiable demand for certain munition. Suppliers go all over the world start sweeping out warehouses and you end up with boxes full of junk and unstable gear if you are not careful."

                          The army suspended AEY from future contracts during the course of the investigation - although it continues to fill existing orders. The Times said Diversoli was unaware of the action although he was to be formally notified yesterday.

                          Until then, however, Diversoli appears to have had a good run. He told the Times his firm had won contracts worth $200m each year since 2004. AEY also supplied weapons and ballistic vets to US government agencies, as well as rifles to Iraqi forces.

                          In 2006, AEY was among ten firms bidding on a contract to supply 52 kinds of ammunition for the Afghan security forces. But while his business was taking off, Diveroli was accused of violent behaviour involving two girlfriends and the parking attendant at his apartment building.

                          In December 2006, Diversoli was charged with battery after beating up the parking attendant, according to the newspaper. Police recovered a forged driving licence from Diversoli's flat which led to a separate charge. He entered a programme for first-time offenders to avoid trial.

                          AEY's contract was approved weeks later in January 2007, and Diversoli began scouring the globe for suppliers. Diversoli turned to Albania, which had large weapons dumps. However, the Times reported that the firm ended up paying for Kalashnikov rounds that was so obsolete and unsafe that the US and NATO were funding programmes to see them safely destroyed.

                          AEY also purchased 9 million cartridges from a Czech citizen who had been linked by the authorities to illegal arms trafficking to Congo.

                          At first, the Pentagon defended its contractor. "AEY's proposal represented the best value to the government," the Army Sustainment Command wrote to the New York Times.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            March 31, 2008 -- Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, more than 90 per cent of China's imports of major conventional weapons have been supplied by the Russian Federation. In this period China has become one of Russia's most valued customers, accounting for 39% of Russian exports of major conventional weapons. However, the SIPRI online Arms Transfers Database, which is updated today with information on deliveries and orders made in 2007, shows a 63% drop in Russian deliveries of major conventional weapons to China - to their lowest levels since 1998 - contributing to a 29% reduction in overall Russian exports for 2007 in comparison with 2006. Further, there are no outstanding Chinese orders with Russia for big-ticket items such as ships or advanced combat aircraft.

                            According to the SIPRI Arms Transfer Database, Russia has delivered major conventional weapons to more than 70 states and other end-users since 1992. These transfers account for 19% of global arms exports, making Russia the second largest arms exporter (behind the USA) for this period. Between 1999 and 2006, SIPRI recorded year-on-year growth in the volume of Russian exports of major conventional weapons, leading to an increase in Russia's share of international arms exports to 26%. This increase has been largely due to orders from China and India. Since the turn of the millennium, these two countries have imported a range of major conventional weapons from Russia - submarines, aircraft carriers, long-range strike, tanker and transport aircraft, and ship-launched land-attack missiles - to demonstrate their regional power status and power projection capabilities. In 2007, China remained the single largest recipient of Russian weapons, accounting for 28% of deliveries (down from 54% in 2006), but India was not far behind with a share of 20% (up from 15%).

                            Data on arms deliveries can fluctuate sharply from year to year because the delivery of ships and advanced combat aircraft can significantly boost the volume of deliveries in a particular year. For example, the fact that deliveries to China were 63% lower in 2007 than 2006 is better understood by comparing the different military equipment delivered in these two years. In 2006 and 2007, Russia delivered 12 Mi-17 helicopters, radars for Chinese-produced frigates and destroyers, aircraft engines for Chinese-produced combat aircraft, and a range of air-to-air, anti-aircraft, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles. China received an estimated 17 J-11 combat aircraft, built from Su-27SK kits, in 2006, compared to an estimated 11 J-11 in 2007. Most significantly, however, a Sovremenny destroyer and two kilo class submarines were delivered in 2006, while no ships or submarines were delivered in 2007.

                            A large drop in delivery volumes in 2007 should not in itself be regarded as a signal of a significant change in supplier-recipient relations between Russia and China. Arguably of greater significance for the future of the relationship are the facts that the usually biannual Sino-Russian intergovernmental meetings on military-technical cooperation (MTC) did not occur in 2007, and Russia does not have any Chinese orders for ships or advanced combat aircraft. The lack of significant new orders from China could be caused by its efforts to further develop its own arms industry, dissatisfaction with delays on outstanding orders, or disappointment with the quality of Russian weapons delivered in recent years. Despite this, China is still rumored to be interested in the Russian offer of Su-33 and Su-35 combat aircraft for use on Chinese aircraft carriers. However, there are also reportedly divisions within Russia over whether to meet Chinese requests for advanced Russian weapons systems. There are concerns that China will only buy limited numbers of such systems with a view to ‘copying' them.

                            Russia's caution is not unfounded. In 1996, China signaled its intention to buy around 200 Su-27SK kits for its J-11 combat aircraft program. In 2004, China revealed that only about 100 J-11 combat aircraft would be constructed from Su-27SK kits, as an increasing share of the components for its J-11 were being produced in China. Then, in 2007, the first prototypes of the J-11B were unveiled, revealing a combat aircraft that bears a remarkable resemblance to the Su-27SMK, but for which a reported 90 per cent of components are Chinese. Some reports say that the J-11B will feature Chinese-produced weapons systems and a WS-10A engine.

                            Although the Chinese appear to have annulled the contract for the joint development of the J-11, Russian officials have not yet condemned this move. Yet China's behavior perhaps helps to explain Russia's October 2007agreement with India for the joint development and production of a fifth generation combat aircraft. Russia had also discussed the possibility of such a project with China, but October's announcement reinforces the impression that Russia is more willing to transfer its most advanced weapons systems (and possibly even technologies), to India rather than to China.

                            All these factors, combined with this year's decline in deliveries and orders, suggest that the slump in Russia's arms exports to China will not be temporary. Indeed, in Russia such a drop has been anticipated for some time, and Rosoboronexport and Russian officials have worked hard in recent years to secure alternative orders. The head of the Russian government's Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Mikhail Dmitriev, announced in late December 2007 that Russia had an order portfolio for an estimated $32 billion worth of arms and military equipment, boosted by significant orders in recent years from Algeria, Indonesia and Venezuela. It remains to be seen, however, whether orders from these states can make up for the expected drop in orders and deliveries to China.

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Mardi 8 Avril 2008 -- Un rapport élaboré par l’institut de Stockholm, qui s’intéresse aux études sur les pays arabes, a révélé que l’Algérie occupe la troisième place au monde arabe dans le domaine de la dépense militaire juste après le Qatar.

                              Le rapport a révélé que la valeur des transactions d’armes conclues par l’Algérie a dépassé, l’année dernière, deux milliards et quatre cents millions de dollars. Selon la même source, l’Arabie Saoudite a occupé la tête du classement des pays qui dépensent le plus pour l’armement militaire, avec plus de 18 milliards de dollars ce qui équivaut à 47 % du volume de la dépense militaire arabe en 2007 qui est estimé à environs 40 milliards de dollars. Cela alors que le Maroc arrive à la cinquième place, après avoir dépensé plus de deux milliards et trois cents millions de dollars.

                              Le rapport de l’institut de Stockholm a expliqué les résultats de la dépense militaire en Algérie, lors des dernières années, par la volonté de l’institution militaire de moderniser l’armée, ce qui a conduit à la signature de plusieurs conventions militaires avec différents pays, à leur tête la Russie et les Etats-Unis d’Amérique.

                              Conformément aux dites conventions, l’Algérie a acquis un équipement militaire développé qui comprend des avions de guerre et des blindés en plus de systèmes et équipements électroniques modernes qui ont prouvé leur efficacité dans le domaine de la lutte antiterroriste. Il est apparu dans le rapport que le rôle de l’Algérie dans ce domaine lui a permis de gagner la confiance des capitales mondiales ; de nombreux pays, à leur tête les Etats-Unis, ont exprimé leur disposition à approvisionner l’Algérie en techniques militaires modernes, considérant que l’expérience algérienne est « efficace » dans le domaine de la lutte antiterroriste. L’Algérie a aussi été considérée par Washington comme un partenaire stratégique dans ce domaine.

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