Friday, April 27, 2018

Should we sell arms to authoritarian countries?

In a world where yearly global arms trade is most likely over $100 billion, should countries care about selling arms to authoritarian regimes?

Should countries directly aid regimes that violate human rights stay in power?

Should countries that proclaim themselves as ethical and restrictive be allowed to go against their statements and sell weapons for money?

What do you do when the very weapons you sold to controversial states end up in the hands of terrorists?

Should we have tighter restrictions on global arms trade?

These are questions that the military-industrial complex and governments should consider.

When countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other countries with numerous human rights violations are the top consumers of the global arms trade, the sellers are directly aiding authoritarian governments to stay in power.

Let's take Saudi Arabia for example. Saudi Arabia is the United States of America's number one arms customer. They have been the first since 2011. According to the United Nations human rights office, since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has murdered at least 5,295 Yemenese civilians and wounded 8,873 Yemenese. In 2017, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that airstrikes (which are mainly sold by the US) remained the single largest cause of civilian casualties.

Without going into the numerous other human rights violations such as the treatment of women and girls, migrant workers, and the utilization of Sharia Law, the fact that US-made bombs are being used to kill innocent Yemenese citizens should ring alarms and cause for an immediate ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

In a world where cash rules everything around us, maybe policymakers and arms dealers should take a moment to think about who their customers are and where their arms are being used before blindly summiting to another paycheck.

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