The Forum on the Arms Trade is a network of civil society experts and a point of contact for strengthening public efforts to address the humanitarian, economic and other implications of arms transfers, security assistance, and weapons use. Managed from Washington DC, the Forum provides a venue for bringing its community's wide-ranging expertise together to amplify and strengthen its work, while also offering government and media members a one-stop resource for the latest information, analysis, and best contacts. Forum-listed experts are located around the world and work on diverse topics including human rights, development, arms control, humanitarian disarmament, cybersecurity, arms and the environment, anti-corruption, and related fields.
New Resource-- Arms Supplies: Turkey's Military Actions in Syria
Worries about harm to civilians and misuse of weapons are some of the concerns raised as a number of countries are taking action to limit future weapons supplied to Turkey and Congressional leaders seek similar measures in response to Turkey's military actions in Syria. See resource page..
"Emergency" U.S. Sale to Saudi Arabia and UAE
UPDATED: On July 29, an effort by the Senate to override President Trump's vetoes earned a majority but did not succeed in securing a 2/3 majority. Votes: SJRes 36 (45-40), SJRes 37 (45-39), SJRes38 (46-41).
On July 17, the House passed SJ Res 36, 37, 38 (see list), related to precision-guided munitions and blocking the issuance of export licenses. On July 24, President Trump vetoed the resolutions.
On July 11, the House added the Lieu amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act by a 246 to 180 vote, which prohibits funds from being used to transfer any defense articles or services to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates under the emergency authority of the Arms Export Control Act that circumvents congressional review. On July 12, the House passed the full NDAA by a vote of 220 to 197.
In the Senate votes June 20, SJ Res 36 and SJ Res 38 each passed by a vote of 53-45 and the remaining 20 resolutions passed en bloc 51-45 (see list).
On May 24, Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed that "I made a determination pursuant to section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act and directed the Department to complete immediately the formal notification of 22 pending arms transfers to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia totaling approximately $8.1 billion to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defense capacity." On June 5, a bipartisan group of Senators announced they would introduce 22 resolutions to block these sales. On June 12, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on this issue, as did the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 10.
We will be updating this page as this story develops, featuring comments by Forum-listed experts.
Press Briefing - Firearms Export Reform - March 5
Audio and additional information available here from briefing with Representatives Torres and McGovern and other experts on March 5.
UK Court Decision
On June 20, the UK Court of Appeal found that UK decisions to sell arms to Saudi Arabia were done improperly, instructing the government to review decisions. See also UK response on June 25, indicating the government would not grant new licenses as it reviews/implements the decision. Statements and analysis from organizations with Forum-listed experts are below (June 20):
Congressional Arms Trade Measures 2019
Tracking select legislation related to arms trade, security assistance, and military support. See resource page.
U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy
Revised implementation fact sheet released on Nov 8 by the U.S. Department of State. Find it on our updated resource page.
Highlighting publications in which Forum-listed experts were involved. Inclusion on the Forum on the Arms Trade expert list does not indicate agreement with or endorsement of the opinions of others.
Shannon Dick, "How the United States can ensure American weapons aren't used for human rights abuses," MilitaryTimes, October 17, 2019.
Dan Mahanty+, "We Americans Always Say We Do Our Best Not to Hurt Civilians. But Our Best Isn't Good Enough | Opinion," Newsweek, October 17, 2019.
William Hartung, "To Curb Turkey's Invasion of Syria, Cut off US Arms and Support," Inkstick, October 15, 2019.
Doug Weir+, "The United Kingdom's practice on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts," Conflict and Environment Observatory, October 14, 2019.
Allison Pytlak, "Cyber," First Committee Monitor, October 14, 2019.
Laura Boillot, "Explosive Weapons," First Committee Monitor, October 14, 2019.
Mary Wareham, "Fully Autonomous Weapons," First Committee Monitor, October 14, 2019.
William Hartung, "Turkey Issue Brief," Security Assistance Monitor, October 11, 2019.
William Hartung, "Turkey's Invasion of Syria, Made In The USA," Forbes, October 10, 2019.
Erin Hunt+, "#WPSAdvice: Put Canada Back in Humanitarian Disarmament," Women, Peace and Security Network - Canada, October 10, 2019.
Ray Acheson, "Preserving First Committee's Global Village," First Committee Monitor, vol. 17, no. 1, October 7, 2019.
Allison Pytlak, "States commit to take political action on explosive weapons at Vienna Conference," First Committee Monitor, vol. 17, no. 1, October 7, 2019.
William Hartung, "Why is the United States still siding with the ruthless regime in Saudi Arabia?" The Washington Post, October 6, 2019.
Anna Stavrianakis, "UK Stance on Khashoggi murder betrayed by unlawful arms sales to Saudis," The Guardian, October 3, 2019.
Bonnie Docherty, "The Function of Political Declarations," Conference on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare, October 2, 2019.
William Hartung+, "Trump and money are shielding Saudi Arabia from accountability for Khashoggi's killing," Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2019.
Cesar Jaramillo+, "Canada joins the Arms Trade Treaty - but will it cancel the Saudi deal?" OpenCanada, October 1, 2019.
Josh Ruebner, "It's time for Congress to defund Trump's 'favourite dictator'," Alaraby, September 26, 2019 (updated).
Dan Gettinger, "The Drone Databook," Center for the Study of the Drone, September 25, 2019.
Iain Overton, "A Hospital on the Edge of Civilisation," Byline Times, September 23, 2019.
Wim Zwijnenburg, "Time to Harden International Norms on Armed Drones," Defense One," September 21, 2019.
Diana Ohlbaum+, "Diplomacy is still the best option for dealing with Iran," The Hill, September 20, 2019.
Roy Isbister, "The UK's Arms-to-Saudi quagmire: from tragedy to farce," Saferworld, September 20, 2019.
Samuel Perlo-Freeman, "Red Flags and Red Diamonds: The Warning Signs and Political Drivers of Arms Trade Corruption," World Peace Foundation, September 19, 2019.
Kate Kizer and Stephen Miles+, (contributing) "Reimagining U.S. Security Spending for the 21st Century and beyond," Win Without War, September 2019.
A. Trevor Thrall and Caroline Dorminey, "Some Arms Exports are Riskier Than Others. Here's a Tool to Tell Which Ones," Defense One, September 18, 2019.
N.R. Jenzen-Jones, "Chinese GP6 guided artillery projectiles in Libya," Armament Research Services, September 18, 2019.
A. Trevor Thrall, "Selling F-16s to Taiwan is Bad Business," Defense One, September 17, 2019.
Radhya Al-Mutawakel, "Africa must help end the war on its doorstep in Yemen," Mail & Guardian, September 17, 2019.
View the full list of recent and past publications featuring Forum on the Arms Trade-listed experts.
Vote Now - Exemplary Media Poll
Our quarterly poll of exemplary media is now open, recognizing journalism that uncovers new information and/or expertly explains issues related to the arms trade, security assistance, and weapons use that was published from July 1 to September 30, 2019.
Vote here and spread the word. Poll closes October 22..
New FMS notifications: October 17 - South Korea $253 million for 120 AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) October 10 - Kuwait $281 million for M88A2 HERCULES recovery vehicles Tunisia - $234 million for 12 T-6C Texan II aircraft October 3 - Ukraine $39.2 million for 150 Javelin missiles October 1 - Japan $140 million AEGIS follow-on support September 24 - Thailand $400 million 8 light attack helicopters Qatar $86 million for head of state aircraft protection September 11 - Morocco $776 million for 2400+ TOW (anti-tank) missiles; $209 million for 6000+ bombs September 10 - Poland $6.5 billion for 32 F-35s August 27 - Japan $3.295 billion for SM-3 Block IIA missiles South Korea $72 million for torpedoes Hungary $500 million for air-to-air missiles Lithuania $170.8 million light tactical vehicles Denmark $200 million for Sonar and Sonobuoys August 20 - Taiwan $8 billion for F-16 aircraft August 7 - South Korea $800 million for multi-mission helicopters July 29 - South Korea $950 million for support to RQ-4 Block 30 remotely piloted aircraft Egypt $544 million for ship support Canada $44 million for radio syems July 26 - India $670 million for C-17 support Pakistan $125 million for F-16 support Thailand $175 million for 60 Stryker infantry carriers July 12 - Greece $600 million for 7 MH-60R helicopters Germany $401 million for 50 PAC-3 missiles July 8 - Taiwan $2 billion for Abrams tanks and $223.56 million for Stinger missiles June 28 - Germany (via NATO) $122.86 million for missiles June 27 - Morocco $250.4 million for F-16 sustainment see resource
U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan
After months of anticipation, on August 20, 2019, the Trump administration formally notified Congress of the possible sale of 66 F-16 fighter aircraft to Taiwan for $8 billion, drawing greater attention to U.S.-Taiwan arms sales, especially as U.S.-China trade talks appeared to be faltering. See resource page.
High School Debate '19-20
Check our resource page designed to help U.S. high school debate participants in the current national series focused on the arms trade.
Resource Page - Int'l Trade of Firearms & Ammunition: Move to Commerce Control
On July 11, the House added an amendment (#10) to the NDAA, which would block these changes, by a vote of 225 to 205. On July 12, the House passed the full NDAA by a vote of 220 to 197.
On February 4, 2019, Congress was notified of final rules to transfer of some items on US Munitions List (USML) categories I-III to the Commerce Control List (CCL), starting a 30-day review period. Legislation to block the change has now been introduced in both the Senate and the House and a hold placed delaying its implementation. A hearing on this topic is was held Tuesday, March 26, in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. On May 14, more than 100 organizations sent a letter to Congress opposing the changes.
The proposed rule was published on May 24 and closed for public comment on July 9, 2018. See resource for concerns expressed and more information.
Yemen War Powers Resolutions
UPDATED: Senate voted, but did not reach 2/3 majority to override veto (May 2). House approves Yemen War Powers resolution (the version from the Senate) on April 4, and President Trump issued a veto on April 16. On March 13, the Senate passed their version of the resolution, S. J. Res 7. On February 13, 2019, the House passed H.J. Res 37 "Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress." See resource.
US "Unsigns" Arms Trade Treaty
On April 26, 2019, President Trump told the audience at an National Rifle Association conference that he is directing the Senate to return the Arms Trade Treaty to him and that the United States will be revoking the effect of its signature to it. See experts comments and related resources.
"Arms Trade FAQ" videos
See transcripts and more details here.
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