Just as America’s streets are flooded with weaponry, so is the global market-place. From the American-bought hand-gun that killed a Mexican presidential candidate this year to the varied weapons of war equipment used by Iraqi forces during the Persian Gulf War, weapons of every variety are moving undetected across world borders.
Here in the United States, violence-weary Americans have begun standing up to the once all-powerful gun lobbies. In Philadelphia PA there is a murder everyday.
America’s arms export policy point to three problems
1. Connected gun merchants are above the law. 2. Many foreign Nations
Aren’t subject to us regulations. 3. Secret Government are complicit in international gun merchandising.
Even a single American-supplied weapon can change an entire contry’s history. Luis Donaldo Colosio, the 44-year-old heir-apparent to the Mexican presidency, was killed in March by two bullets fired from a .38-caliber Taurus. The gun was originally purchased in 1977 by a security firm executive in San Francisco and had crossed the Mexican border some time later without a trace, say authorities from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).
After the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union collapsed. Tens of thousands of ex-Soviet soldiers were put out of work. Much of Eastern Europe was the same. In Africa, the lack of superpower support meant that the traditional militaries collapsed. And societies were beginning to fragment into numerous rebel groups ( National Liberation Front, Democratic Liberation, ETC) and there was a great demand for military arms. Many of the former Soviet citizens became arms dealers. The situation went from a situation traditionally emphasized heavy arms to one which emphasized small arms — what the soldier could carry. These would have been AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, mortars, that sort of thing. They were cheap, they were durable, and they could be concealed and easily transported. And I think the fact [is] that the West kept track of the state-to-state arms transfers, but what made this a particularly difficult problem after the end of the Cold War was there was no tracking of small arms.
And it had a major impact on Africa — very devastating. I guess 7 to 8 million people had been killed by the turn of the century . There were millions of refugees and internally displaced [people]. Also, numerous people maimed or otherwise brutalized. Whole areas of Africa just ravaged. I think perhaps Sierra Leone, Liberia, and eastern Congo are the most terrifying examples.
The flow of arms into Africa is a worldwide phenomenon. Arms dealers use banks throughout the world. Transportation companies throughout the world, whether it be sea or airplane. Deals are made in one country for arms purchased in other countries. A lot of arms flowed out of the former Soviet republics. But there were also arms coming from European countries as well, and Asian countries. It was a bonanza. And it was unregulated.
The impact on Africa, if you could look at several different sectors of society. The Karamojong people living in eastern Africa, it’s a pastoral group, traditional warriors. Suddenly, they’re armed with AK-47s. It turned their society into chaos. In eastern Congo, where you had an invasion by the Ugandans and Rwandans and various rebel groups active in the area, it just devastated the entire portion of that country. I can remember speaking with some people who lived there. They said, “There’s nothing here. There’s no roads. There’s no police force. There’s no schools. There’s no medical services. There’s nothing. You’re on your own.” And that is the most egregious example. And then you have rising crime rates in places like Nairobi or Johannesburg, in part fueled by the easy availability of illegal arms.
Children and millions around, not just Africa, the world are being sensely murder and are victims of international weapons trade.
The Revolutionary United front (RUF) in Sierra Leone armed up to 23,000 child soldiers with illegally acquired arms. These children were mostly used to raid villages and guard diamond mines. They were drugged, raped and forced to commit such atrocities as killing their own parents Many Children are dismember and hacked or shot to death.
The illegal arms trade makes the armed seizure of natural resources possible.
Small arms can be traded directly for natural resources such as oil, diamonds, and timber or for the profits generated by the sale of those natural resources.
This is like a cancer.