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:

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

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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.

European Defence Fund: governance and sovereignty issues

Since it first popped out of the Commission's hat, the European Defence Fund has been a constant source of concern. The questions it raises are many, and often take an ethical turn. The resulting answers are therefore rather clear-cut: they tend to be enthusiastic or disgusted, depending on opinions. They are rarely nuanced.

This article aims to focus in particular on the matter of the relevance of the Fund as a EU competence. Is the process of integrating the Old Continent finally ready to extend to the defence sector, or are we in reality facing a cover-up that is intended to finance military industries and policies that will ultimately continue to operate on the basis of purely national logic? Will the Community budget be put at the service of the European ideal or of the "gun merchants"? An analysis of the Fund's governance system can help us understand.

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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

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


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)

Elections in the DR Congo: maps issues

The elections scheduled for December 30 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were preceded by so many controversies and scepticisms, that their outcome look set to be unpredictable. In view of the upheavals that have reshaped the country's political landscape since the disputed elections in November 2011, this could be the most competitive election since the 2006-2007 election cycle. That is, if the conditions under which it is conducted allow for real transparency.


Aude-E Fleurant : "2017 est la troisième année consécutive de croissance des ventes d’armes des firmes du Top 100"

Le GRIP profite de ses liens avec Le Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) et avec OSINTPOL pour mettre en perspective les données produites en accès libre par cet organisme sur les marchés des armements. Chaque année, le SIPRI procède au classement des 100 plus importantes firmes de défense au regard de leur chiffre d’affaires. À l’occasion de la publication des données relatives à 2017, Yannick Quéau a interrogé Aude-Emmanuelle Fleurant, directrice du programme armements et dépenses militaires du SIPRI et par ailleurs collaboratrice d’OSINTPOL. Le classement ainsi que le document d’analyse (en anglais) faisant ressortir les éléments essentiels peuvent être consultés sur le site du SIPRI en cliquant ici.

Crédit photo : S-400 (SAM) Triumf (SA-21) lors d'une répétition du défilé de la victoire à Moscou le 4 mai 2010 (ru:Участник:Goodvint, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – July to September 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 : Wilguette Eznez, ChateauNews pour la République du Congo


Certificat d’utilisateur final : une valeur ajoutée ?

Les certificats d’utilisation/utilisateur final(e) (CUF) sont souvent considérés comme des outils indispensables pour lutter contre le détournement d’armes. Ils permettraient également d’exclure des utilisateurs finaux suspectés de non-respect des droits de l’homme ou du droit international humanitaire. Pourtant, de nombreux problèmes entourent les CUF : certains pays en sont dispensés ; ils peuvent être falsifiés, non vérifiés ou leur violation n’entraine aucune conséquence ultérieure. Ils ne sont donc utiles que dans le cadre d’un ensemble d’autres mesures en amont et en aval de l’exportation. La réaction des États face aux violations des engagements de l’importateur et la diffusion de l’information concernant les États responsables de pratiques de détournement seront également abordées, ainsi que des pistes de renforcement du système de contrôle...

Crédit photo : Mitrailleuse serbe M02 Coyote utilisée par un rebelle en Syrie (2016) - source: ARES (Armament Research Service) via Facebook.

Job multiplier effect in the Belgian arms production industry

Arms and military equipment production employs several thousand workers in the 71 companies identified in the GRIP database, but it also has effects on the employment of the Belgian economy as a whole. These effects are measured by different types of jobs multipliers defined by the Federal Planning Bureau for each sector of activity in Belgium.

These multipliers make it possible to estimate the total employment that will be created in the whole of the Belgian economy (in the firms, in the suppliers chain and by the consumption of the households) when a company has to increase its production to respond to an additional exogenous final demand. According to this methodology, GRIP estimates the total employment generated in Belgium by the production of weapons and military equipment at 11,403 jobs in 2017.

Monitoring de la stabilité régionale dans le bassin sahélien et en Afrique de l’Ouest – Avril à juin 2018

Ce monitoring trimestriel, publié par le GRIP depuis 2011, a pour but de suivre la situation sécuritaire en Afrique de l’Ouest avec un accent plus particulier sur le Burkina Faso, la Côte d’Ivoire, la Guinée, le Mali, le Niger et le Sénégal. Il se penche sur les questions de sécurité interne au sens large, les tensions régionales, la criminalité et les trafics transfrontaliers.
(Crédit photo :  Guinée, cinq morts dans des violences post-électorales -

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

Credit: demonstrations in Conakry (source : Cellou Binani)


Risk assessment in arms export controls: indicators and risk factors

In recent years, numerous indicators, or indexes, have been developed by international and non-governmental organizations with the objective of assessing State’s performances on an increasingly wider array of issues. These indicators now represent a systematic and important source of information on political, security and human rights issues of one given country. This Note intends to analyze the use of indicators as risk assessment tools in the field of arms exports control. The aim is to contribute to improved practices while assessing risks associated with arms export and to the consolidation of the User Guide on the EU Common Position.

The South China Sea: the long road of diplomacy

The South China Sea is a strategic area of transit for a large share of global trade. It is also a region characterized by territorial and maritime disputes between China and several of its Southeast Asian neighbors. In July 2016, an arbitration tribunal ruled that Chinese claims were not consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). However, this clarification of the rule of law did not facilitate negotiations between China and its neighbors. On the contrary, it led to a consolidation of a discussion format where power asymmetry and political games dominate. This note aims at detailing this apparent paradox, between an eroded rule of law and a falsely reinforced diplomatic channel.

Crédit photo : UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Volunteers’ battalions and village guards: two risky end-users in Ukraine and Turkey

Arms exporters are used to deliver products to governmental authorities, such as regular military or established police forces, private security companies and sometimes civilians holding a valid permit. However, another kind of end-user can top the list of recipients: pro-governmental militias. These militias are believed to share the same responsibilities as soldiers and policemen, such as law enforcement or external defense, while distancing themselves from the chain of command of regular forces and their rules of engagement. This Analysis seeks to highlight risks and challenges posed by arms exports to these non-state actors with two case-studies: Ukrainian volunteers’ battalions and Turkish village guards.

Crédit photo : Camion blindé improvisé du batailon Azov en Ukraine

The Iranian deal under threat

The signature of the JCPoA in 2015 has rightly been hailed as a major diplomatic success for the international community and the nuclear non-proliferation regimes. The rationale behind the agreement was simple, on the one hand Iran would abandon its nuclear program and accept a strong regime of inspections, on the other hand all nuclear related sanctions at the level of the UN, EU and US would be lifted and Iran would find its place back in the global trade flows. But after the election of Donald Trump, the entire deal seems to be in jeopardy. Trump, who never hid his disdain for the deal, issued an ultimatum to Iran and the other partners of the JCPoA, threatening to terminate US participation if it was not “fixed”. This Analysis aims to expose what the US see as “flaws” in the JCPoA and what are the Iranians claims about what they see as US violations of the deal. It will also put the role the Europeans into perspective, should the US walk away from the deal...

Crédit photo : Signature du JCPoA à Vienne en juilet 2015 (crédit : ONU/Dragan Tatic)


Diversion of arms: the weakness of European practices in risk assessment

The standards and procedures of EU Member States to strengthen arms export controls, including preventing and countering diversion, are considered to be among the highest in the world. Yet today, not a month goes by without a Member State being questioned about its export decisions. The publication of cases of diversion - suspected or proven - of European weapons in the Middle East is increasing, and now from countries that are considered as allies and among the best customers of the EU countries. This Analysis presents some of the challenges in preventing and combating the diversion of weapons that EU Member States face when authorizing exports.

(Photo credit:, Syrian Rebel with a PKM)


Libyan crisis: role and concerns of the EU and its member states

When the regime of Muammar Gaddafi collapsed under NATO bombs, in 2011, France and the United Kingdom, the main instigators and actors of the Libyan campaign, were far from understanding that Libya would become the theater of a never-rending and complex conflict, much like those who torment the Middle East.

The difference in Libya, however, is that the European Union and its members play a leading role. In spite of conflicting policies and interests, they have been able to preserve a certain unity. The relationship between Italy and France in the Libyan case, however, remains marked by mutual mistrust and misunderstanding

(Photo credit: On 25 July, Emmanuel Macron invited Fayez Sarraj, President of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, and Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army. Source: