Vol 15, No 1 (2020)

This issue of the journal contains a symposium of articles based on selected papers from a World Peace Foundation (WPF) seminar on “The politics and economics of the global arms trade”, as part of WPF's program on “Global Arms and Corruption”. It brought together a range of researchers, activists and policy analyst and provided valuable insights into the changing global arms trade. In our first paper Sam Perlo-Freeman of Britain's Campaign Against Arms Trade and WPF, considers the warning signs or red flags that indicate a high risk of corruption. This builds upon work of the Compendium of Arms Corruption at WPF. It also provides the context for the other contributions. Paul Holden of Shadow World Investigations provides a case study of a notorious arms deal in South Africa, using recent disclosures of information that followed a Commission of Inquiry that found no evidence of corruption, but has now been ‘set aside’. The article provides novel insights into the problems with offsets and corruption in the arms trade, as well as showing how the promised economic benefits of offsets were massively oversold. Diego Lopes da Silva of SIPRI provides a case study of Brazil's dependence of its arms industry on exports, considering new domestic procurement data. He suggests that the level of export dependence of the Brazilian arms industry has been overstated. Linda Akerstrom of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society offers a case study of changing procurement relations and arms exports in Sweden. She focuses upon a Swedish government order of 14 empty (unfinished) airframes from Saab simply to maintain production capabilities, as an illustration of the hand-in-glove relationship between the Swedish state and Saab, its arms industry ‘national champion’. Emma Soubrier writes on the dynamics of the arms trade in the Persian Gulf, a major and possibly the world's most corrupt arms market. She analyses the changing power relationships between buyers and sellers in recent year and points to a growing  ‘reverse influence’ of buyer states on sellers, resulting from the ‘existential need to export’ in seller arms industries. Finally, a stand-alone contribution to the issue is provided by Kjell Hausken and Mthuli Ncube. They provide a model that considers how benefit provision to the population can alter the outcome of civil wars and revolutions.

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Table of Contents

Articles

Red flags for arms trade corruption
Samuel Perlo-Freeman
Offsets in practice: The experience of South Africa
Paul Edward Holden
Arms for export? A reappraisal of the Brazilian arms industry
Diego Lopes da Silva
14 empty airframes: public–private relations in the Swedish arms industry
Linda Åkerström
The weaponized Gulf riyal politik(s) and shifting dynamics of the global arms trade
Emma Soubrier
Strategic choices by the incumbent and challenger during revolution and civil war
Kjell Hausken, Mthuli Ncube