Publications

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: militaryedge.org, 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: Elysee.fr)

The Ukrainian defense industry: one foot in the USSR, another in NATO

Since its creation, the Ukrainian defense industry has kept very close ties with its Russian counterpart. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the support from the Russian Federation to separatist in Eastern Ukraine forced a brutal and rapid disconnection between the two industrial complexes. UkrOboronProm, the umbrella company for Ukrainian state-owned defense companies has set itself several objectives: provide the Ukrainian army with modern gears, replace Russia as a provider of components for the defense industries and important customers, reform the defense industry to make it competitive and finally move towards the adoption of NATO standards. The Ukrainian industry is also switching from a “Russian-inspired model” to a western model that involves a bigger share of private initiative. In order to succeed in this transition, the Ukrainian military industrial complex will need a great deal of internal and external political support, strong quality control mechanisms and the capacity to rebuild its reputation from the Ianoukovitch era.

Crédit photo: The Vast Soviet Tank Graveyard at Kharkov, Ukraine - Urban Ghosts Media (Tom, July 2015)

SWOT ANALYSIS

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – October to December 2017

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 : MINUSMA Peacekeeper Patrols Airstrip in Kidal, Northern Mali - UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Latin America, a new El Dorado for European arms exports?

Latin American countries are today in an exceptional situation where the defense budgets are being contracted and the missions of the armed forces reoriented towards issues of public security. This Analysis presents the evolution of military spending in these countries as well as arms acquisitions: who are the major importers, who are their main suppliers and what are the current trends? It is also examining the question of transfers of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition from the European Union Member States to this region.

Crédit photo : parachutistes mexicains (Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump/USAF/Wikimedia Commons)

 

The role of the US in Arms Transfers to Armed Groups in Syria

Since 2012, weapons and ammunition have arrived massively to the many armed groups active in Syria, notably from the Balkans and passing through neighbouring countries which, like Saudi Arabia, claim to be the final recipients. Far from being just a case of unscrupulous exporters and importers ignoring the re-exporting ban, it appears that the United States is at the heart of these transfers.

Through two programs – the first implemented by the CIA for the benefit of opponents to the Damascus government; the second organized by the Pentagon to arm the opponents to Islamic State – the United States have indeed coordinated, facilitated and financed billions of dollars of arms purchases in third countries and supervised their transport to the Syrian rebel groups they wish to support. However, this flood of weapons has produced many unintended effects, including the supply of jihadist groups and fighting between factions armed, some by the CIA, others by the Pentagon.

Crédit photo : missile TOW américain utilisé par des combattants de l'Etat islamique

Balkan arms transfers to the Middle East and risks of diversion to armed groups

Since 2011, small arms and light weapons flows from the Balkans to the Middle East have increased sharply. While Iraq remains logically the largest importer of Balkan weapons in the region, Saudi Arabia has also established itself as a major customer. Others, in particular Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, have also greatly expanded their arms purchases. The main exporting country to the Middle East is by far Bulgaria, followed by Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. The curve of their exports rises dramatically, with record sales in 2015 or 2016.

Yet, some of these weapons were diverted to diverse non-state armed groups operating in Syria, including "subsidiaries" of Al-Qaeda, and even Islamic State. The lax policy of the exporters is not alone to blame. These transfers are actually part of a strategy that goes well beyond the Balkan and the Middle East.

Photo credit: Serbian machine gun M02 Coyote used by a rebel in Syria (2016) - source: ARES (Armament Research Service) via Facebook.

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – July to September 2017

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 : Casque bleu de la MINUSMA près de Gao (source : MINUSMA / Harandane Dicko)

L’armée turque après le putsch: outil éreinté au service de la politique étrangère d’un régime consolidé

L’armée turque a subi la tentative de coup d’État de juillet 2016 et ses suites de plein fouet: secouée par des vagues de purges parmi ses cadres, privée de son indépendance par sa soumission au gouvernement civil, elle doit cependant maintenir des engagements cruciaux à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur du pays tout en s’adaptant à la posture internationale de plus en plus clivante qu’entend tenir le président Erdogan. Ainsi, l’outil militaire d’une politique étrangère de plus en plus vindicative ressort au contraire éreinté du processus de consolidation du pouvoir post-coup. Observant des déficits dans des secteurs essentiels à ses missions actuelles, comme les capacités aériennes et la planification stratégique, l’armée voit également la pérennité de son professionnalisme menacé par une baisse des exigences de recrutement et de formation et leur basculement vers des critères de loyauté politique plutôt que d’excellence militaire.

(Crédit photo: Turkish Soldiers - U.S. Navy photo by MC2 (SW) Christopher Hall)

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – April to June 2017

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 : Projet à impact rapide (QIP) à Gao, financé par la MINUSMA (UN Photo/Harandane Dicko/mai 2017)

Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: from negotiation to the first draft

For the first time since the signature in 1996 of the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty (CTBT), a negotiation opened on a new multilateral nuclear disarmament instrument. The aim is to complete the current treaties which prohibit “inhumane weapons” (biological and chemical weapons, antipersonnel land mines, cluster munitions); Nuclear weapons being the last weapons of mass destruction not subjects to a total ban. On May 22th, a first Draft of Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was published and is submitted from now on to the criticisms, in the objective that on June 15th, date of the open of the second round of negotiations, the lacks were corrected and that the works end on July 7th on a final document.

Crédit photo : Première session de la négociation à l'ONU (Jean-Marie Collin)

Tomahawk missiles and “Mother of All Bombs”: Dilapidation and “red line crossing” in the Trump administration

This analysis focuses on recent coercive actions led by the USA in Syria (with the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles) and Afghanistan (with the release of a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Weapon, or MOAB). We highlight the fact that these actions project a new representation of the use of force by the United States, out of step with the image of "economic violence" that had been imposed during the presidency of Barack Obama. Based on George Bataille's philosophical work on waste and transgressions, we show that these actions can be analyzed as a punitive celebration aimed at asserting the status of the United States on the international stage.

Monitoring of regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa – January to March 2017

This quarterly monitoring, published by GRIP since 2011 is part of a project named “Contributing to improve human security, conflict prevention and strengthening the rule of law in Sub-Saharan countries”. It 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 : Patrouille de la Police UNPOL à Tombouctou (MINUSMA/Harandane Dick)

The Sahel and Lake Chad Window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund: migration as a new security and development issue

The Sahel region is high on the European agenda and was given a full-fledged component in the establishment of the "Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa". While its first and main feature is the increasingly flexible mode of operation and governance, this instrument of cooperation also reflects a gradual alignment of European security and development agendas in this region. Specifically, this Analysis aims at identifying the specificities, assets and possible biases of this new tool for managing migration, at providing a quick assessment of its implementation and, finally, at reviewing the contemporary development of the European policy in the Sahel.
Crédit photo : Projet d'irrigation de rizières au Mali (source : UN Photo/Marco Dormino)

 

The Caliphate in Southeast Asia:Intertwined logics of a shared concern

Experiencing a series of military defeats in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist organization Islamic State may well wish to expand its reach to Southeast Asian shores. There is even concern that it might claim a “caliphate” in this area. Such prospect seems to be fed by the globalization and professionalization of the most radical militant groups present in Southern Philippines, as well as by their better use of transborder networks and socio-political issues. In this light, the region’s jihadist landscape is poised to change, and so should the means to manage it. Is it possible that the days of a so-called Southeast Asian “counter-terrorism model” are already long gone?
Photo: Abu Sayyaf fighters posing with an Islamic State flag

 

Arms trade and international responsibility of exporting States

Under EU and international law, EU Member States are prohibited from facilitating, contributing to or supporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law abroad, for example by transferring weapons. Yet there are concerns about the legality of some arms exports. Beyond the primary responsibility of the user of weapons, this analysis aims to examine the question of the legal responsibility of European States transferring arms to other States in situations where they could be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The Union research defence program: state of affairs

In 2016, for the first time in their history, the European institutions decided to finance some actions in the field of defense research. This is a fundamental change in the Union's approach to European defense and may be a game changer, depending on the modalities that will be used to define the amount and the outline of the future European Defense Research Program (EDRP) as well as its relationship with the national defense planning and the European defense planning that appears to be emerging. Other important issues will also need to be addressed, such as the articulation of the European program with the capability programs and its overall governance. This Analysis, drawn up on the basis of a report to the European Parliament in March 2016, provides an update on the situation in the spring of 2017.

Malaysia’s political crisis: silence and turbulences

Since 2015, Malaysia is mired in a political crisis that was prompted by a world-scale corruption scandal. Facing these turbulences, Prime Minister Najib Razak allegedly received no less than US$ 1 billion from a sovereign fund – « 1MDB » – he himself set up and presided. 1MDB is now close to bankruptcy. In place of apology, Najib’s government forged ahead: it silenced its critics by an intensive use of draconian regulations and now plays the racial and religious cards in prevision of a hotly contested general election. Such an evolution will probably spill over national borders, but with what impact?   

Arms manufacturing goods and technologies: exports-at-risks

Arms manufacturing goods and technologies: exports-at-risks Arms manufacturing goods and technologies are widely sought on the international defence market: they can help importing States to reduce dependence on their suppliers while progressively acquiring knowledge and know-how likely to strengthen their own defence industry. But these manufacturing capabilities also pose a challenge to exporting companies as they have been increasingly required to transfer such defence articles as part of expanding offsets requirements, thereby putting their own competitiveness at risk. As to suppliers States, exports of defence manufacturing capabilities must be assessed through the risk of end-use diversion as well as their potential negative impact on national employment rate.

Crédit photo : Usine de munitions de l’entreprise Caracal (crédit: army-technology.com)

 

Controls on transit and transhipment. The example of three European countries

On November 23rd 2016, the Hong Kong harbour authorities seized nine Terrex armoured vehicles from the Singaporean army as their container ship was calling in Hong Kong. The vehicles were coming back from an exercise in Taiwan. There was no valid transit license for the vehicles and their seizure by the Chinese authorities started a diplomatic crisis between Singapore and China. This incident illustrates what is at stake with transit and transhipment controls of military equipment although those controls are often under-researched compared to other arms control measures. In this analysis, we will compare the transit and transhipment controls of three European countries, France, Germany and the Netherlands, which will allow us to draw some dividing lines between the different regimes and practices of those countries neighbouring Belgium.

Photo: Cochin International Contrainer Transhipment Terminal (Commons Wikimedia)

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