U.S. election, new experts and resources
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Arms Trade News

November 2016

Featured in this mid-year edition:
  • U.S. Presidential Candidates' Positions
  • Rapid Response and Ongoing Resources: Arms to Saudi Arabia
  • Recent Reports
  • Expert spotlight: Andrew Feinstein
  • Experts in Action
  • Newly listed experts
  • Intern with us - Apply by December 5
The Forum on the Arms Trade is an information clearing-house, forum, and point of contact for strengthening efforts to address the economic, humanitarian and security implications of legal, illicit, and illegal arms transfers, as well as related topics of security assistance and weapons use.
Candidate Positions
Election this week: tracking key issues
With the U.S. presidential election coming on November 8, the Forum has tracked the positions of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump  on security assistance to the Middle East and Latin America, drones, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the Mine Ban Treaty. Jump to the resource here
US Tank Sale
Rapid Response and Ongoing Resources - Arms to Saudi Arabia

The Forum responds to breaking developments and maintains keys resources on issues such as arming Saudi Arabia. When the U.S. Senate cast an historic vote on proposed tank sales to the country, five experts quickly offered their assessment for the media. Find the full resource at this link.
Arming Saudi Arabia icon
The Forum also maintains an ongoing resource looking at the global approach to arming Saudi Arabia in light of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Key developments this year, including actions in Europe aimed toward an arms embargo, different resolutions proposed in the United States, key research, and legal action in the United Kingdom are detailed on this page.
Recent reports*

Middle East

Many Forum-listed experts have been engaged in the dialogue around the arms trade to Saudi Arabia. Rachel Stohl co-published with Shannon Dick in September an analysis in Defense One outlining the case for halting U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia in order stop indiscrimate bombing in Yemen. William Hartung authored a widely cited study finding that the Obama administration had offered
more than $115 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia since 2009. Jeff Abramson authored an article in Arms Control Today detailing responses in the US, UK, and recent Arms Trade Treaty conference of states parties to the topic, as well as an issue brief proposing a U.S. response.

Arms Exports, Imports and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

The ATT Baseline Assessment Project, co-led by Rachel Stohl and Paul Holtom issued two new studies analyzing initial implementation reports as well as 2016 annual arms exports reports submitted under the Arms Trade TreatyNils Duquet co-authored a paper on counterterrorism in Belgium, where his section focused on the ease of acquiring firearmsMatthew Bolton published a report on how the Arms Trade Treaty could be used to address wildlife crime.


Dan Gettinger co-authored two reports with Arthur Holland Michel, one focusing on the positions of the two leading US presidential candidates and their advisors on drones, and the other assessing miltiary unmanned systems in 2016Rachel Stohl evaluated a new international declaration on drone use and trade, expressing concern that wilthout expansive additional work it could be used to legitimize bad behavior.

Latin America

Robert Muggah co-published in the New York Times an oped looking at Brazil's arms industry and involvement in conflicts around the globe. John Lindsay-Poland co-authored a report examining U.S. arms transfers to Mexico in light of corruption and human rights in the country.

Security Assistance 

The Security Assistance Monitor, led by Colby Goodman, continues to prepare updated resources on U.S. security assistance and has recently been a key source for public understanding of the topic, including for infographics produced by the Washington Post. In September, Rachel Stohl wrote on pitfalls arising from increases Pentagon leadership in security assistance for World Politics Review

Landmines and Cluster Munitions

Jeff Abramson and colleagues were widely quoted following the September launch of Cluster Munition Monitor 2016 for which he serves as final editor. In October, Abramson along with Forum intern Alicia Jensen, wrote in Arms Control Today about the pending cessation of cluster munitions production by the last U.S. manufacturer of the weapons. On November 22, Landmine Monitor 2016 will be launched, again edited by Abramson.

Child Soldiers

Rachel Stohl co-authored with Shannon Dick a critique in US News and World Report arguing that the Obama administration lost an opportunity to lessen the use of child soldiers by how they implemented the Child Solders Prevention Act.

Additional publications are listed on the Forum's home page, as well as in an archive dating back to January 2016.

* Reports and articles were typically authored or co-authored by Forum on the Arms Trade-listed experts, unless detailed otherwise. Inclusion here does not indicate endorsement of or by the Forum nor the institutions cited. See more details.
Andrew Feinsten
Spotlight: Andrew Feinstein

Andrew Feinstein, Founding Director of Corruption Watch (UK), has been traveling extensively discussing corruption in the arms trade at film screenings and conferences.
Shadow World
Shadow World, a documentary film directed by Johan Grimonprez based on Feinstein's book The Shadow World. premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016. It has been named the best documentary feature film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Seminici Film Festival. Notable airings of the film include (among many) the Arms Trade Treaty Conference of State Parties in Geneva, the Gent Film Festival, the Human Rights Human Wrongs Film Festival in Oslo, and Documenta14 in Athens. It will screen at the UK Green Film Festival as a part of TakeOneAction festival in Scotland in November and the TI International Anti-Corruption Conference in Panama in December. Click for schedule
Experts in Action

"Experts in Action" details recent events, as well as select writings and media citations that feature individuals listed as experts* by the Forum on the Arms Trade.

Project on Middle East Democracy, home to Forum-listed experts Cole Bockenfeld and Todd Ruffner, is hosting a dinner on November 30 honoring U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, in part for his critical attention to arms sales to Saudi Arabia in light of the crisis in Yemen, as well as Jackson Diehl, a leading editor at the Washington Post examining military assistance to Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. 

On December 1, Rachel Stohl will join a discussion on the U.S. drone program, featuring authors of two recent books on the topic.

On 4 November
Wim Zwijnenburg spoke about Data, Drones and Death at DomCode, a conference focused on modern development of the web and hosted in the Netherlands. In late October, Zwijnenburg discussed commercial and military drones highlighting the need to establish norms and international laws on their use during a side event at the UN First Committee. Zwijnenburg has also discussed the illegal arms trade in Europe by German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle

The Flemish Peace Institute's Nils Duquet spoke at a seminar on public mass shootings in Europe in late October, discussing his recent research on gun acquisition patterns and on gun violence in Europe. In late October, Duquet was also cited on missing transparency in small arms exports in Politico.

Cole Bockenfeld testified at a hearing on Bahrain in September, recommending that the administration reinstate a suspension of arms sales to the Bahraini military until the BICI recommendations are fulfilled. (See youtube clip). Bockenfeld was also quoted in Huffington Post, on the role of the United States in Yemen, twice, as well as in an article published by Mother Jones in September. 

Rachel Stohl discussed the historical importance of the UN Register on Conventional Arms, highlighting challenges to increased transparency in global arms trade during a late October UN side event organised by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. At a separate event, Stohl reported on ATT arms transfer reporting and treaty implementation. In Barbados in early October, Stohl took part in the Wilton Park Meeting where she detailed ways in which the obligations of the ATT and Security Council Resolution 1540 are relevant to Caribbean governments as well as practical steps for effective implementation. In October, Stohl was widely quoted on child soldiers policy as well as U.S. and global drone issues, including by the Associated PressMilitary Times, Drone Wars UK, Defense News, Foreign Policy and the Washington Post

Numerous Forum-listed experts (Jeff Abramson, Matthew Bolton, Andrew Feinstein, Erin Hunt, Natalie Goldring, Jasmin Nario-Galace, Iain Overton, Rachel StohlWim Zwijnenburg) were in New York in October providing their expertise on topics at the UN's First Committee, including the Arms Trade Treaty, Mine Ban Treaty, Convention on Cluster Munitions, small arms and light weapons, drones, killer robots and more. Five experts were captured posing for photos at the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum, which was co-led and hosted by Hunt and Bolton (among many others).  

On October 13, Amy Nelson discussed digitization of weapons technology and its proliferation during a two-day meeting on emerging weapons technologies at the National Defense University.

* Inclusion on the Forum on the Arms Trade expert list does not indicate agreement with or endorsement of the opinions of others. Institutional affiliation is indicated for identification purposes only. To learn more about being listed as an expert, see this FAQ.
Newly listed experts

The Forum on the Arms Trade now lists
39 experts, 17 based in Washington DC, 4 more located elsewhere in the United States, and 18 internationally based experts located in Australia, Canada, Belgium, Brazil, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The five most recent experts to be listed are:

Dan Gettinger is Co-Director and founder (2012) of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. There, he leads a team that examines and reports on the complex opportunities and challenges presented by unmanned systems in both the military and civilian sphere. Based in Washington DC, Dan's area of focus is security policy, proliferation, and defense spending as related to drones. 

Hector Guerra is a policy and advocacy practitioner liaising with governments, parliaments, and intergovernmental organizations in capitals, and in the UN system at Geneva and New York. Based in Geneva, he works on diplomatic processes related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms regulation instruments, including the Arms Trade Treaty, the Mine Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the humanitarian initiative for nuclear disarmament (among others). 

Erin Hunt is the Program Coordinator at Mines Action Canada and a Senior Researcher for the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. She has been working in humanitarian disarmament in various capacities since 2006 and doing public education on the Mine Ban Treaty since 2003. Erin is also expert on diplomatic efforts to prohibit autonomous weapons systems (killer robots) and nuclear weapons. 

Laura Spano is the Arms Control Manager of the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction, the Secretariat of the Pacific Small Arms Action Group (PSAAG). Laura is responsible for advising Asia-Pacific government on the implementation of UN arms control instruments. She is also the Pacific Regional Coordinator for the international civil society coalition - Control Arms. Laura has worked on UN peace and security issues, primarily at the UN headquarters in New York City and in 15 conflict and violence-affected countries.

Wim Zwijnenburg is a Humanitarian Disarmament Project Leader for the Dutch peace organisation PAX. His work focuses on emerging military technologies and their impact on how wars are being fought and consequences for arms proliferation, and is author of a number or reports on armed drones. He also works on the impact of conflict on the environment and has been involved in the campaign on the Arms Trade Treaty. 
Intern with us - apply by December 5

The Forum on the Arms Trade, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, and the Arms Control Association are currently looking for an intern to provide support on a range of topics across institutions.

This internship position offers an exciting opportunity to develop research, fact-checking, operational, coordination and networking skills. The intern will be exposed to a wide range of researchers, organizations and individuals – including an international network of campaigners, as well as representatives of governments and international organizations.

The length of the internship is flexible, but must be at least four month, to start in January and go into May as a minumum. The internship will be focused on tracking presidential candidate positions and media, population of multiple websites, factchecking research, and preparing for the Meeting of States Parties for the Mine Ban Treaty to be held in Chile in late November. The internship will be focused on growing the Forum's membership, tracking media, population of multiple websites, conducting and factchecking research, and supporting a 2017 event agenda.

here for more information. To apply, please e-mail your CV, maximum one-page cover letter, and short writing sample (3-12 pages) to Jeff Abramson at jeff [at] armscontrol [dot] org.
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