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European major weapons in the Yemen war

A coalition of 10 countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is  fighting in Yemen against Houthi rebels who forced Yemen's government into exile. Dutch weapon systems are playing an invisible but important role in this war; many of the participating navy ships are fitted with Thales Nederland fire control radar. Analysts say the war is not about Yemen's internal... read more >

Libya needs serious arms control

Last Friday, the UN Security Council decided to leave the arms embargo against Libya unchanged, and urged the government in Tripoli to improve the monitoring of its weapons. Libya and neighbouring Egypt had asked to lift restrictions on Libyan government arms imports 'so it could better fight extremists groups.' Earlier this month the UN Panel of Expert on Libya stated in its annual... read more >

Fokker: “a company with a long track record of deceit and illegal behavior”

In his Opinion of February 5, 2015 U.S federal judge Richard Leon refused to approve a settlement for sanction violations by the Dutch aerospace firm Fokker Services, daughter of Fokker Technologies Holding B.V with the US Government. Fokker is a key Dutch defence company. The company was accused of more than 1,100 illegal shipments worth $21 million to Iranian customers, including the military,... read more >

Shipyard Damen wants to build for Azerbaijan

Dutch Damen Shipyards considers building military naval vessels for Azerbaijan, a country that is involved in an arms race with neighboring Armenia. Mid Janauary, Kommer Damen CEO and owner of Damen Shipyards visited the World Economic Forum in Davos to strengthen cooperation with Azerbaijan. He met the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev personally to discuss construction of military and... read more >

Congratulating ABP?

Recently ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, announced it had divested from shares in Indian company Larsen & Toubro. ABP stated that Larsen & Toubro was excluded because “the lack of cooperation in order to rebut the presumption of direct involvement in the production of nuclear weapons. Thereby the company is acting contrary to the non-proliferation treaty aimed at tackling the... read more >

F-35 might undercut European arms export policy

Fighter aircraft are among the most decisive weapon systems in combat available. The most expensive and best marketed is Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, also known as Joint Strike Fighter.. On a recent South Korean tender for new fighter aircraft two giants in the world of aircraft, Boeing and Airbus, had to team to tackle the strong position of Lockheed. Nine countries are officially... read more >

Arms trade in the real world

Recently, the Dutch parliament and government had their annual debate on arms export policies of the previous year. Although the debate is supposed to include an evaluation of individual arms trade licenses, these were not on the agenda, resulting in a large number of questionable exports not addressed, such as optical instruments, parts for armoured vehicles, aircraft, and naval vessels for... read more >

Arms fair season

It seems to be arms fair season. Two weeks ago, Dutch peace activists and the solidarity movement with Palestine went to Rotterdam to protest against the annual meeting of the Dutch Defence and Security Association (NIVD). This annual meeting is connected to an exhibition, newspeak for arms bazar. Just before the meeting, the spokesperson of the NIVD told the press that one of the participating... read more >

Autonomous armed drones – In the loop or on the loop?

The current debate about the dangers of fully automatic weapon systems is particularly important. An underestimated aspect however is the extent to which the already existing unmanned weapon systems like armed drones can quite easily be further developed into nearly automatic systems in which the human role in the decision making process is just symbolic. An interesting view on this question... read more >

Damen contributes to arms race in Chinese Sea region

Recently, the Dutch (military) shipbuilder Damen opened the Song Cam Shipyard, a joint venture with a Vietnamese partner, not far from the Chinese border and in the direct vicinity of the headquarters of the Vietnamese Navy in Hai Pòng. The wharf is one of the largest in the Damen Group. Pim Schuurman, Managing Director of Damen Holding Vietnam stated: “We have successfully built 226... read more >

The golden triangle; Dutch Defence Industrial Base

Early June of this year the Associated Press published an article about “the bigger nations that account for the bulk of Europe's defence spending”. The Netherlands is amongst those countries, together with Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. All of these countries forster their arms industries to arm their national defence forces, and all have policies to keep this... read more >

Security exception for TTIP?

Arms are not an ordinary commodity. For that reason, arms trade has been excluded from international trade agreements such as the WTO Treaty and the EU common market. This makes it possible for governments to strengthen their own defence industries in a highly competitive market and keep control of the export of military goods to destinations considered undesirable for strategic, foreign policy... read more >

Airbus Military, growing 'kind of dirty industry.'

May 27 the annual shareholders meeting of Airbus (formerly EADS N.V.), the biggest military and space company in Europe, will take place in Amsterdam. Peace groups have a long history of protests at the event. This has created an atmosphere which was recently described by Airbus CEO Tom Enders: “Working in the defence industry has a bad reputation in several European countries. Many see it... read more >

Dutch 007 equipment; Royal Ten Cate on innovative defence market

Special Forces are the troops most spared by Western governments when economizing on the military. They are an essential element of the new Remote Warfare policy of which drones are another element. New equipment appeals to boy's fantasy. With DARPA's newly-commissioned stealth dirt bikes, the enemy “will never hear how rad you are”. BRD Motorcycles developed a quiet,... read more >

No problem with arms sales to Qatar?

At the closing ceremonies of the DIMDEX Arms Fair Qatar announced arms acquisitions valued at €17 billion ($23 bn.).  This is more than twice the total Dutch annual military budget. Amongst others, the deal includes attack helicopters, guided missiles, tanker planes and naval vessels. Different segments of the orders have a Dutch component. The arms race on the Arabian peninsular has a... read more >

Switzerland and Japan lower arms export standards

The annual report on global arms export of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) deals with legal arms exports only. It is the lion share of the world wide trade in weapons. Figures on illegal arms exports, by criminals, companies or countries violating international arms embargos by the UN, EU or OSCE, are not available, for obvious reasons. The United States, which has... read more >

Louder than words; European arms export policy debated

Next week, European non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels with the Council Working Party on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM ) of the European Union. On the agenda is the review of the Users Guide on the EU Common Position on the control of export of military technology and equipment (Common Position on arms export). It will be evaluated in the light of the Arab Spring and the situation... read more >

Military exercises and arms

In recent weeks, the U.S. Africa Command annual regional exercise and operation Flintlock took place. Thousand of soldiers from eighteen countries cooperated in this international event for Special Forces. This year the aim of the exercise was to strengthen the position of the participating countries in two North African regions : the southern border region of Libya and the border region of... read more >