Guns Guns Guns!

The law means nothing to the powerful. In April 2013 there was an Arms trade approved at UN General Assembly. It is supposed to ban transfers of weapons in cases where they can be used in violations of Human Rights. In a matter of days after the treaty was approved, it became officially known that Russia was sending Arms to the government of Syria during one of the most brutal and violent wars of the last 50 years, that the UK and France were planning to arm the opposition to the government, and that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were already doing just that.

So much for international law. How about domestic law? We have a good case study in the UK where domestic law forbids transfers when «there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression». So in its response to the law, the government recently authorized the transfer of 18 billion dollars of arms to countries it considers «of concern». The transfers include «assault rifles, pistols, military support vehicles, and small arms ammunition. […] military communications equipment, crowd-control ammunition, handgrenades, smoke/pyrotechnic ammunition and teargas/irritant ammunition.»  In other words: equipment designed specifically to be used “to facilitate internal repression”.

Some of the major beneficiaries of the UK’s peace efforts in the Middle East are Israel, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. In the first case, one can imagine that this is a prize for the world’s current longest occupation, in the second case maybe it’s a prize being given to Bahrain for most violent repression of internal calls for democracy, and no doubt the weapons to Saudi Arabia are a well deserved reward for this theocracy’s stellar performance in the world championship of beheadings.

So much for international treaties, so much for domestic law, so much for “human rights”, and so much for peace and democracy. Governments care not for such things and “people” are just not a priority.  Now, we may ignore or forget them as well, but those who these guns will be used against, will probably not.

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