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Nobel Peace Prize laureate boosts arms exports to the Middle East, despite or thanks to Arab spring

The European Union’s arms exports rose by 18 percent in 2011 and most of it is for the Middle East. This is remarkable, as 2011 also was the year of the Arab spring. Several EU member states (partially) stopped exporting to Arab Spring countries – Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen for example – at least for some time. Arms embargoes were imposed for Libya and Syria. Remember,... read more >

Arms trade promotion compensating for declining domestic demand

With military budgets declining or frozen in most of Europe, arms producers are increasingly looking abroad to fill their shrinking order books. And increasingly they are relying on a helping hand from the government, either through active diplomacy at the highest level to speed up potential deals, or with the military showing their hardware for potential foreign customers. And any sale... read more >

Dutch ships assist Honduras in escalating war on drugs

Honduras is currently building up its naval forces, reportedly to counter international drugs trafficking. A stronger naval force would also help the country in deterring harassment of its fishing crews by naval and police units from neighbouring Nicaragua and El Salvador, according to Honduran officials. Current equipment of the navy is said to be 30 years old on average. Last October the Latin... read more >

EADS claiming its place in rapidly expanding cyber warfare market

Behind the scenes of the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip a cyber war has also been going on. Israeli hackers penetrated and paralyzed the website of The Hamas Interior Ministry on 18 November, while Israeli Finance Minister Steinitz said: "Beyond the main military battlefield, there is a secondary arena. Israel has been under unprecedented cyber attack." These attacks include... read more >

Dutch pension funds boost investments in nuke producers

"Some say nuclear disarmament is utopian... I say the illusion is that nuclear weapons provide security", said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this week. The UN chief further argued that their inherently destabilising presence was unwarranted in the post-Cold War era. "How, then, do we explain that... amidst a global financial crisis, the nuclear-weapon states... read more >

The unwanted JSF swamp and the new Dutch cabinet

Soon after the 12 September parliamentary elections in the Netherlands the two largest parties, VVD [liberal/conservative] and PvdA [social democrat], started talking about the potential for a coalition representing 79 out of 150 parliamentary seats. So far nothing has been leaked from the negotiating table to the media on what is likely one of the most contentious issues they have to deal with:... read more >

Wedding of the elephants: merger between BAE and EADS in the making

Europe's two biggest arms companies, British BAE Systems and German/French/Spanish EADS announced that they are negotiating a merger, or an 'elephants wedding' according to the press. This wedding would create the single largest defence company in the world, bigger than the present number one Lockheed Martin. According to the American weekly Defense News, Lockheed Martin had a 2011... read more >

Dutch engineers take India’s warship building into “a new era”

Maritime relations between India and the Netherlands have existed since the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was allowed to set up a fort and trading post – Fort Geldria - on India’s east coast in 1608. At that time trade in clothes, as well as the establishment of a gun powder factory made the so-called Dutch Coromandel an essential link in the VOC trade routes. Four hundred years... read more >

Released Dutch arms sales contract reveals special role of Parliament

The normal procedure for arms export licences in the Netherlands is that export officials decide whether to grant one or not, following a standard procedure, including a criteria check relating to e.g. human rights, internal and regional tensions and sustainable development. Only after the licence has been granted (or rejected), the Parliament has a role. As controller of the government it can... read more >

Seeing in the dark

Over the past decades Dutch night vision equipment has been sold to military, police  and security forces in dozens of countries across the world. In the 1980's then producer Delft Instruments became infamous thanks to illegal deals with Iraq during and after the Iraq-Iran war. In the 1990’s their DEP (Delft Electronic Products) unit boosted sales to countries such as China, India... read more >

Trade and aid: yet another Dutch warship for Indonesia

Last week the Indonesian Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) for a so-called SIGMA 10514 Guided Missile Frigate, or Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR). The frigate is to be delivered in 2016 and is part of a major expansion of the Indonesian Navy, TNI-AL. The contract comes nearly two years after it was announced and includes a transfer of... read more >

Turkish authorities cannot find Dutch nuclear proliferator

In October 2003 the German-registered ship BBC China was boarded and searched in the Italian port of Taranto in a joint US–UK–Germany–Italy operation. Investigators seized five containers bound for Libya that held components for uranium enrichment equipment. The containers bore the logo of Scomi Precision Engineering, a Malaysian company contracted by the network of Abdul Qadeer... read more >

Arms fairs and the footprint of EADS

Arms fairs are the oil that keeps the arms trade machine running. International exhibitions are the ideal show for anything the military needs, as well as anything it did not know it needed but which has been developed and thus is desirable. Arms fairs are the playgrounds where big business needs to persuade military delegations of the 'need' to buy their innovative killing machines. All... read more >

EADS sells big to Indonesian Air Force

“A possible embargo has always been a reason for the TNI [Indonesian armed forces] to feel worried when it wants to procure weapons from overseas”, Indonesian commander–in-chief Agus Suhartono said in January. Indonesia had to deal with European and American arms embargo's for a many years, as a consequence of massive human rights violations in East Timor, Papua and Aceh.... read more >

Arms deal with Thailand a novelty in reporting

Last week the Dutch government introduced a novelty in its reporting system on arms exports. It sent a letter to Parliament, notifying an export licence recently granted for fire control equipment with destination Thailand. Under the new system the government will inform Parliament within two weeks of any export licence granted worth two million euro or more, for all destinations apart from EU/... read more >

Dutch arms exports to China, Turkmenistan and Egypt

The Dutch government is quite transparent in detailing its arms exports – at least, ex post. Licence details are published on the government's website. Although transparency in itself does not limit exports – the Netherlands is still a solid top-10 arms exporter – it  gives the opportunity to scrutinize the implementation of export policies. And although the Dutch... read more >

Frontex eyes drones to further war on immigration

Last September the European Parliament granted EU border control agency Frontex the right to purchase its own equipment, such as navy ships and helicopters. Up till then Frontex was depending on EU member states defence and police forces for its equipment. The decision of the European Parliament opened up new profit opportunities for the arms industry. While no orders so far have become public... read more >

New Dutch arms control legislation leaves transport sector untouched

A Dutch-flagged ship carrying US supplied weapons and explosives is feared to be on its way to Egypt, Amnesty International reported this week. While US authorities admit that the Dutch vessel is carrying US military cargo, they refuse to confirm the final destination or recipient of the weapons, citing security reasons. The US Navy however denies that the weapons will be offloaded in any... read more >