News / Europe

Britain's Arms Sales Are Boon, but Pose Predicament

Britain's Arms Sales Are Boon, but Pose Predicamenti
X
August 05, 2013 2:40 PM
A recent report from the British Parliament says the country has arms sales contracts with six countries it has designated as having poor human rights records - and several others with questionable records. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London, the document highlights a dilemma faced by all arms-exporting countries.

Britain's Arms Sales Are Boon, but Pose Predicament

Al Pessin
A recent report from the British Parliament says the country has arms sales contracts with six countries it has designated as having poor human rights records - and several others with questionable records. The document highlights a dilemma faced by all arms-exporting countries.

The British news media used strong language to report the story, and graphics to show where the country’s military equipment is being sold.  

It seemed embarrassing, but it was not surprising to experts, like War Studies Research Associate Jack McDonald, of London’s King’s College.

“The problem that the UK finds itself in is the same one that any arms exporting country finds itself in, which is that the biggest buyers tend to have human rights records that we would consider fall short of our own standards,” said McDonald.

In recent months, Western plans for military sales to the Syrian opposition have gotten a lot of attention, particularly as its militant elements have grown. Russia has condemned the plan.  

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “The European Union, in fact, is pouring more fuel on the fire of this conflict and damaging the prospects for convening a peace conference.”

At the same time, Russian sales of anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian government have drawn criticism from the West, and from Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin during a visit to Moscow. "Israel is expressing a grave concern about prospects of such deliveries. We asked for deliveries to be suspended until the situation stabilizes,” said Elkin.

Meanwhile, China is becoming an ever larger player in the global arms trade and is also being asked to justify its decisions.

“On the issue of arms exports, China has always taken a responsible and prudent attitude, adhering to U.N. Security Council resolutions and international law,” said Hong Lei, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

The manufacture and sale of military equipment is important to the economies and defense programs of major countries. And officials say exports give them influence in troubled parts of the world. However, McDonald says it’s not that simple.

“Although selling arms to these countries gives us some leverage with them, I don’t think it’s axiomatic that they’re going to change their human rights records or accept our version of what human rights are,” he said.

It’s a delicate balance to strike, with countless lives and the future of nations at stake, leaving arms-selling countries in a permanent quandary and under criticism for virtually any decision they make.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 07, 2013 3:16 AM
We should stop any kind of arm exports. It is ashamed for everybody to earn money by selling arms noticing and ignoring the blood shed of victims as it is not in your own battle field. I can not believe Britain is now still doing such a mean dealings. It reminds me that Great Britain has major responsibilities for many territorial disputes battled even now in its ever colonies of Middle East, African and Asian countires. Thank you.


by: HDS26234 from: California
August 06, 2013 6:58 PM
Does the USA still hve 50 or so percent of the Arms sale market of the world, as it was the case some decades ago, may I respectfully ask?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid