Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – April to June 2019

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011, aims to monitor the security situation in West Africa with a focus on Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It examines in particular broad internal security issues, regional tensions, and cross-border and transnational crimes.

Crédit photo : UN Photo/Gema Cortes

Controlling the Trade of Torture Goods

The prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is one of the fundamental rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 5). However, it is only recently that concrete measures have been taken in order to address the trade of torture or execution goods. This note traces recent developments regarding the measures to control the trade of this type of goods, and questions their relevance and effectiveness at the UN, European and Belgian levels.

Crédit photo : Omega Research Foundation

La Russie sera-t-elle expulsée du Conseil de l’Europe ?

Ce 24 juin, l’assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe tiendra un vote sur une résolution a priori banale, intitulée « renforcer le processus décisionnel de l'Assemblée parlementaire concernant les pouvoirs et le vote ». Pourtant, derrière ce titre très procédurier se cache une crise majeure qui pourrait provoquer la sortie de la Russie du Conseil de l’Europe et questionne la manière dont les Européens doivent se comporter avec Moscou...

The governance of the European Defence Fund: sovereignty and integration issues

The Commission's proposal to create the European Defence Fund (EDF) in 2016 was greeted with contrasted reactions. A group of analysts strongly supports the EDF initiative and understands it as a step toward a more integrated European arms markets and defence policies, while another group fiercely opposes the EDF on the grounds of it is mainly a large subsidy to arms producers without a clear connection to the European integration project. In order to clarify the terms of the debate, this paper analyses the EDF governance. It claims that the main weakness of the Fund’s governance lies in the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU which now should be now reformed.

Crédit photo : char Léopard au salon Eurosatory de l'armement terrestre à Paris (Benjamin Vokar/GRIP/2014)

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – January to March 2019

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011, aims to monitor the security situation in West Africa with a focus on Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It examines in particular broad internal security issues, regional tensions, and cross-border and transnational crimes.

Crédit photo:

Rwanda 1994. Quand l'Histoire s'écrit à la machette

Un génocide touche et tache toute l’humanité, dit Esther Mujawayo, rescapée de la nuit rwandaise. Comment pourrait-il en être autrement alors que le massacre des Tutsi est enclenché sous les yeux d’une force de maintien de la paix des Nations unies ! Et que les responsabilités de ce désastre sont nombreuses. Les stigmates de 1994 ne disparaitront pas de sitôt dans les brumes de l’Histoire…

Comment devient-on génocidaire? Et si nous étions tous capables de massacrer nos voisins (réédition)

Nouvelle édition, revue et augmentée

« Le barbare est celui qui ne s’oppose pas à la barbarie », disait Claude Lévi-Strauss. Au Rwanda, en ce sinistre printemps 1994, l’équation est certainement plus complexe pour celui qui se trouve au cœur de la tempête. Car résister, ce n’est pas seulement écouter sa conscience, faire preuve de courage, c’est aussi aller à contre-courant de certaines traditions, comme l’obéissance aux autorités. Quoi qu’il en soit, les paysans des collines sont nombreux à rejoindre le camp des tueurs…

The state of the relationship between Turkey and NATO: a weakened commitment

This Note addresses the current state of NATO-Turkish relationship through the lens of the Turkish defence policy. Although the Turkish defence effort complies with NATO’s expectations on paper, its drivers, goals and sustainability remain shaky, if not disputable. Of even greater concern is the Turkish military health which was voluntarily dealt a serious blow by the government in the wake of the military failed coup in 2016, after which other defence and security actors were pushed to the fore to counter the armed forces. If the purchase of Russian anti-aircraft weapon system S-400 seems to fill an operational gap rather than aiming a break from NATO, it is however likely to blur the real picture of the military capabilities available to the Alliance

Photo credit:

Can a Belgian offer exist on the military UAV markets?

Can we envision a Belgian industrial offer on the military drone market? The question is thornier than it seems. This Analysis first attempts to provide and discuss the keys to understand the structure of the supply of military UAVs on international markets. Then, it identifies the main drones producers paying particular attention to the United States and Israel's unique trajectory. It also looks at the characteristics of the European offer and the challenges ahead. Finally, it positions Belgium in this overview of the industrial offer of military UAVs.

Crédit photo : MQ9B Sky Guardian - RIAT 2018

Cooperation between customs and export control authorities: a necessary common classification of goods?

The cooperation between customs and export control authorities for arms and dual-use items is essential to ensure the practical implementation of decisions taken at national, European and UN level. However, the two institutions have different visions related to their respective purposes and do not use the same definitions and product identification codes. This note examines the attempts of cooperation between customs and export control authorities in the context of arms trade. It proposes paths for reflection in order to analyse the key challenges related to the linkage between the two main classification systems for war materials and dual-use goods, the Harmonized System used by customs and the Export Control Classification System.

Photo credit: Customs and Excise: protection of exterior borders (

The European Defence Fund and the debate on arms export control

By accepting the European Defence Fund, the EU Member States could have reopened the thorny debate of arms export controls. The regulation around the Fund’s inner working will inevitably raise a question: if the Community budget of the EU is used to fund weapons systems, shouldn’t the EU have a say in case those weapons systems are exported to third countries?


Origin, means and indicators of the United Arab Emirates' military ambitions

At the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, the United Arab Emirates were beginning a complete change of their strategy, giving shape to new military ambitions. This research note seeks to identifie the drivers that have supported the country's defence trajectory for almost 30 years. The paper focuses on the UAE threat perception (mainly, Iran), the means mobilized to support the country's objectives (military spending, arms procurements), the reform of the armies, the development of strategic partnerships and, finally, the overseas military operations of the UAE.

Photo credit: Al Dhafra Air Base - Abu Dhabi -

Armed groups and political actors in Turkey

This Analysis seeks to expose the various links between political actors and non-state armed groups in Turkey. Historically, both political parties and State’s services have made use of violent groups to serve their interests through various patterns of collaboration. However, the risk of violent clashes erupting between ideological or political groups has heightened following the failed coup attempt in July 2016, due to the increasingly polarizing rhetoric promoted by the government and tearing apart the society.

Photo credit: The Osmanen Germania Boxclub had their clubhouse in Neulandstraße (Osnabrueck) in 2016. The clubhouse no longer exists. Archive photo: Michael Gründel (source


Kosovo: A gloomy picture 20 years after NATO's strikes

24 March 2019 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of NATO's air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The intervention, according to the official speech, was supposed to "prevent a humanitarian disaster" or "stop genocide" against the Albanian population in Kosovo. However, the situation worsened during the weeks of bombardments, which seems to have triggered rather than prevented the announced "humanitarian disaster".

Twenty years later, how is the situation in the region shaping up? What is Kosovo's current status and place in regional and international relations, while relations with Belgrade, who does not recognize the independence of its southern province, seem to be at its lowest? What is the economic, political and social situation like?  Finally, what are its prospects for the future, at a time when the EU is losing its attraction and influence in the Balkans?

Photo credit: BalkanInsight - From right to left: Fatmir Limaj, Deputy vice-prime minister; Kadri Veseli, president of  the Parliament; Ramush Haradinaj, Prime minister; and (to the right of Federica Mogherini) Hashim Thaçi, president of the Kosovo. The four current top leaders of Kosovo in this photo are also suspected of organ trafficking.

Enjeux de la nouvelle loi suisse sur les armes

Dans le cadre de sa réponse aux attentats terroristes de 2015 et 2016 à Paris et Bruxelles, le Parlement européen et le Conseil de l’Union européenne (UE) ont adopté la directive 2017/853, qui durcit les conditions d’acquisition et de détention d’armes à feu pour des particuliers. La Suisse est concernée par cette directive en vertu des accords de Schengen et doit adapter sa législation afin de respecter les obligations qui en découlent. En effet, l’acquis de Schengen couvre un grand nombre de domaines en plus de la libre circulation des personnes, dont la circulation des armes.

Croatia-Serbia: a mini-arms race in the Balkans?

Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers and Buk anti-aircraft missiles, Kiowa Warrior and Mi-35 helicopters, F-16 and MiG-29 fighters, ... Croatia and Serbia's arms purchases seem to respond to each other, and some fear a repetition of the 1990s scenario, when the rivalry between the two Yugoslav republics led the Balkans into a bloody conflict.

This note first explains the origin of the armed forces of both countries and their respective evolutions, then sets out various indicators (military expenditures, arms imports, manoeuvres, etc.) that can be used to assess their respective military strength.

This suggests that while both countries are in the process of renewing their weapons, the level of rearmament remains rather modest at the European level. Above all, the absence of any real point of contention seems to rule out any risk of armed conflict in the short term.

Crédit photo : MiG-29 livrés par la Russie lors de leur présentation à l’aéroport militaire de Batajnica, près de Belgrade, en octobre 2017

Une armée européenne sous quelle forme ? (5/5)

Les termes "armée européenne" suscitent immanquablement des images de soldats sous le même uniforme et sous la même bannière. En réalité, une "armée" est bien plus qu’un ensemble de soldats. C’est tout ce qui permet à ces soldats d’agir, à savoir : un budget conséquent, des ordres clairs, des équipements efficaces et une organisation industrielle et technologique capable de les fabriquer. C’est tout cela à la fois qu’il faudra réunir si l’on veut donner corps au rêve d’une armée européenne...

Une armée européenne pour faire quoi ? (2/5)

La question de savoir à quoi servirait une armée européenne est fondamentale au sens propre du terme, c'est-à-dire qu’elle vient en premier. C’est une question qui se pose aux États européens depuis la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et qui n’a jamais reçu de réponse satisfaisante, parce que ces États sont en profond désaccord sur les objectifs qu’il faudrait assigner à cette armée européenne. Pourtant, répondre à cette question est indispensable, car construire un outil militaire est long et onéreux, et dépend entièrement de la finalité qu’on lui assigne...

Post-Export Controls: Good Practices and Challenges

End-user/end-user certificates, and the post-export control mechanisms sometimes associated with them, are essential tools in the fight against arms diversion. Several European States have recently undertaken measures to implement such tools. However, there are significant disparities due to varying ambitions and resources from one State to another. This analysis examines different national initiatives on post-export controls in Europe. Particular attention is paid to the study of the verification systems put in place by Switzerland and Germany, pioneers in this field.

Crédit photo : UN Photo/Staton Winter


Pourquoi nous faut-il une armée européenne ? (1/5)

À l’origine de l’action, il y a l’inspiration. Quelle est donc l’inspiration qui a poussé en novembre 2018 le président de la République française et la chancelière allemande à proclamer de concert la nécessité d’une armée européenne, puis le chef du gouvernement espagnol à les rejoindre quelques semaines plus tard ? Ont-ils tous subitement perdu la raison ? Ne s’agit-il que d’une vaine utopie, d’un leurre pour détourner l’attention des réalités du moment ou bien d’un projet certes difficile dans sa réalisation mais nécessaire dans sa finalité ?

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – October to December 2018

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011, aims to monitor the security situation in West Africa with a focus on Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It examines in particular broad internal security issues, regional tensions, and cross-border and transnational crimes.

Crédit photo : manifestation en Guinée (crédit UFDG)