News / Europe

    British Security Sales to Mideast Under Scrutiny

    Bahraini protester runs away after riot police fired tear gas at protesters at the Pearl roundabout soon after the military pulled out in Manama, Bahrain, February 19, 2011 (file photo)
    Bahraini protester runs away after riot police fired tear gas at protesters at the Pearl roundabout soon after the military pulled out in Manama, Bahrain, February 19, 2011 (file photo)

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron says he would like to see a United Nations resolution condemning Libya's use of force against anti-government protesters.  He was speaking in Qatar during a tour of Gulf Arab states.  Back in Britain, controversy has arisen over his country's sale of arms to what critics call repressive governments.

    Speaking in Qatar, Mr. Cameron described the force used by the Libyan government to crack down on its opponents as "appalling."

    On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning the use of force against civilians in Libya.  

    Cameron said more should be done.

    "Would I like us to go further and have a full United Nations Security Council resolution? Yes, I would, I think that would be good," said Cameron.

    Mr. Cameron is in the Gulf along with a team of senior defense manufacturers.

    The 10th International Defense Exhibition, or IDEX, is taking place in Abu Dhabi with more than 1,000 companies showing their military equipment and services.

    Among them are a number of major British companies.

    Wyn Rees is an international security expert at Britain's Durham University. He says Britain's defense manufacturers are some of the top globally and are keen to make sales.

    "We're currently in times of financial austerity and arms companies earn this country large overseas balance of payments, so with the amount of money we spend domestically on defense squeezed very hard, there's going to be continued pressure from big defense manufacturers to continue selling items of equipment, the argument being you can only develop these sorts of high ticket price items domestically if you have also got overseas markets in which to sell them to," said Rees.

    But in Britain, critics say the British government is hypocritical for arming those same governments it criticizes.

    Britain has this week revoked licenses for arms sales to Libya and Bahrain after fears surfaced that British tear gas or riot equipment may have been used against political demonstrators.

    It has also emerged that security forces from Libya and Bahrain have been trained in the United Kingdom.

    Keith Hartley is from the Centre for Defense Economics at Britain's University of York.

    He says the Gulf Arab states need international arms to defend themselves.

    "They live in an uncertain world," said Hartley.  "They are surrounded quite often by some neighboring states that they regard as potential enemies and rivals. You simply have to mention Iran for example, others feel a threat from Israel. So it's not surprising that they are reasonably heavily armed."

    He says the United Nations would need to play a stronger role if those countries were not to be armed.

    "It would be a far better world if we had an effective United Nations that could in actual fact introduce, police and enforce peace in the Middle East and elsewhere and enforce it by having the equivalent of a world military force - but that doesn't exist, and I think we're a long way from it," added Hartley.

    Britain has licensed hundreds of cartridges of tear gas and other riot equipment for sale to Bahrain within the past nine months.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora