Is the UK’s arms trade with Saudi Arabia a breach of the Arms Trade Treaty?

Is the UK Government now ignoring Arms Trade Treaty obligations by continuing to trade arms with repressive regimes? This was the question asked by the Control Arms campaign on 16 January 2015. They think the answer is yes, but unfortunately it appears to be no, as I will explain.


Addressing some misconceptions about the Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty came into force on 24 December 2014. At the time of writing the Treaty has been signed by 131 states and ratified by 61. I want to try and clear up some misconceptions about the Treaty that have been aired in the commentaries surrounding its the entry into force.


A new and better way for British arms export licensing: presumption of denial

The British export licensing system depends on a “risk assessment” officials make at the time an export licence decision is made. It is totally ill-fitted to how the world actually works, chiefly because weapons and weapon systems have a shelf-life far longer than the validity of the official risk assessment.

So what would a new […]

The Gaza conflict and British arms exports: a case study in lamentable decision-making

Just over two weeks ago, I questioned whether there was a review of British arms export licences for Israel, in the wake of the recent conflict in Gaza. About one week ago the British Government announced the findings of its review of licensed exports to Israel. It sets out the lamentable Ministerial decision-making around export […]

Interview in the Daily Record

The Daily Record has published an interview with me about the arms trade. (By the way I would not claim to be an “industry expert”.)

Is there a review of British arms export licences for Israel?

The current conflict in Gaza is resulting in grievous loss of civilian life. Three Israeli civilians have been killed and around 1,800 Palestinians. Atrocities have been committed against civilians, almost all by the Israeli Defence Forces (as follows from the above figures), including well-publicised ones condemned by the US Government and UN Secretary-General.


The fundamental flaw in Britain’s arms export policy

The events of the “Arab Spring” have resulted in a great deal of scrutiny of the British Government’s export licensing procedures. Parliament’s Committees on Arms Export Controls have recommended in their most recent report that:

the Government should apply significantly more cautious judgements when considering arms export licence applications for goods to authoritarian regimes “which […]

Improving Britain’s ability to convict those paying bribes in arms deals

In the past the authorities in the United States have been much more successful in prosecuting foreign bribery by their companies than the authorities in Britain.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s latest report on steps taken to implement and enforce the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in the United Kingdom is far more scanty than […]