Monday, 21 February 2011

It's an ill wind…

Certainly Britain's doing very well out of the Middle East's revolutions.

The most unequivocal message since the election was made by Peter Luff, the defence equipment minister, who told a defence show in June: "There will be a very, very, very heavy ministerial commitment to arms sales. There is a sense that in the past we were rather embarrassed about exporting defence products. There is no such embarrassment in this government."

It's not embarrassing selling crowd control missiles to Bahrain and Libya at all.

As the Campaign Against the Arms Trade notes on Bahrain: in 2010, equipment approved for export included teargas and crowd control ammunition, equipment for the use of aircraft cannons, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles and submachine guns. No requests for licences were refused.
In the third quarter of 2010, equipment approved for export to Libya included wall-and-door breaching projectile launchers, crowd control ammunition, small arms ammunition and teargas/irritant ammunition. No requests for licences were refused.
On the other hand, if the Arabian oiks win, they might start looking at the receipts and lose their warm fuzzy feelings towards Britain. But for now, I suspect Britain's arms factories can't churn out the anti-civilian ammunition fast enough for their favourite clients. No wonder the recovery is export-led.

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