Would an attack on Iran be legal?

Cesar Jaramillo Americas, Asia, Conventional Weapons, Defence & Human Security, Mideast, News

Conspicuously absent from most analyses on the prospect of military action against Iran over its nuclear program is the question of whether an attack by the U.S. or Israel would be consistent with international law. Concerns raised in Western policymaking circles regarding a military intervention in Iran have little to do with its legality. Typically cited are the staggering costs …

Bill C-19: Is data a four-letter word?

Maribel Gonzales Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

The battle to save the long-gun registry has turned into a fight to save the data contained in the registry. When Bill C-19 passes as expected, most rifles and shotguns will no longer have to be registered. And records on 7.1 million registered “non-restricted” weapons will be destroyed, records that were collected over a period of 14 years at a …

What is the value of Canada’s annual arms exports?

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

In a highly connected, digital age when it is possible to track people and packages across the planet in real-time one would be forgiven for thinking that Canadian officials should be able at leisure to monitor military exports and report their value. Not so. In fact, not even close. There is not a single person anywhere, government official or otherwise, …

Canadian-Finnish arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, Europe, News

UPDATE: Though four ministers voted against granting the permit, the Finnish government has granted an export licence for 36 Patria mortar systems to be shipped to Saudi Arabia, the government-controlled arms maker said in a statement. The Finnish research group SaferGlobe Finland released a statement in late November that questioned Finnish government approval of 36 heavy mortar systems for the …

Damned Nations: Greed Guns Armies & Aid

Tasneem Jamal Conventional Weapons, News

We at Ploughshares highly recommend the new book by War Child’s Samantha Nutt, Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid, the critically acclaimed account of her decades of work in some of the most devastated corners of the world. We were pleased to note that on page 153, she acknowledges the work of Project Ploughshares: “NGOs don’t have to be …

Canada redefines the Libya arms embargo

Kenneth Epps Africa, Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

Joël-Denis Bellavance, a reporter with La Press in Montreal, published an article today dealing with Canada’s approval in April of the export of a suitcase-sized drone to the rebel forces in Libya. The export was made in contravention of the UN embargo on supplying arms to Libya. Bellavance based his story on related documents, heavily blacked out, secured through the …

The F-35: What goes up must come down

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

One silver lining in the dark clouds of economic malaise accumulating in Western skies is that military spending must inevitably drop. The Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that world military expenditures reached a record $1.6-trillion (U.S.) in 2010, an unprecedented government outlay that is clearly unsustainable. Some states may increase military expenditures in the near term but the big …

Guns and doctors

Maribel Gonzales Conventional Weapons, News

When I was raising my kids, my pediatrician talked to me a lot about safety issues:  having the proper car seat, “childproofing” my house,  having  CO2  and smoke detectors. He also asked if there was a gun in the home (there was not) and whether it was safely stored. Yet, reports the Boston Globe,  Florida lawmakers recently passed a “gag …

Oscar Arias honoured

John Siebert News

Former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias received an honourary doctorate from Carleton University this week. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, Arias expressed his admiration during his recent visit for Canada’s role in peacekeeping and support to developing countries. He also expressed dismay at the rise in Canadian military spending: “I do complain that it is unnecessary for Canada …