U.S. Remains Leader in Global Arms Sales
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U.S. REMAINS LEADER IN GLOBAL ARMS SALES, REPORT SAYS
By Thom Shanker
New York Times
September 25, 2003
WASHINGTON - The United States maintained its dominance in the international
arms market last year, especially in sales to developing nations, according
to a new Congressional report.
The United States was the leader in total worldwide sales in 2002, with
about $13.3 billion, or 45.5 percent of global conventional weapons deals, a
rise from $12.1 billion in 2001. Of that, $8.6 billion was to developing
nations, or about 48.6 percent of conventional arms deals concluded with
developing nations last year, according to the report.
Russia was second in sales to the developing world last year, with $5
billion, followed by France with $1 billion.
While the report focuses on sales and deliveries of conventional weapons
from the industrialized world to poorer nations, it also offers a glimpse
into such issues as missile proliferation by North Korea and foreign weapons
transfers to Iraq.
The new report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations,
1995-2002," was sent to the House and Senate this week by the Congressional
Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress. The annual study,
written by Richard F. Grimmett, a specialist in national defense at the
research service, is considered the most authoritative resource available to
the public on worldwide weapons sales.
From 1999 to 2002, there were no deliveries of surface-to-surface missiles
to the Middle East from arms makers in the United States, Russia, China or
Europe, the report said.
But the study says 60 surface-to-surface missiles were delivered to the
Middle East by nations in the category "All Others," which includes such
suppliers as Israel, South Africa and North Korea.
United States officials, both military and civilian, said today that North
Korea was the source of the surface-to-surface missile deliveries listed in
the report, and of 10 anti-ship missiles delivered to the Middle East in
President Bush has increased public pressure on North Korea and Iran over
their nuclear programs, and the administration is organizing a number of
joint military exercises to train for the interdiction of possible
shipments. The goal of these exercises is to make it more difficult to
transmit components of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons -- and the
missiles to deliver them.
But difficulties in halting North Korea's missile trade were evident in
December, when a North Korean cargo vessel that was not flying a flag was
halted off the Horn of Africa by two Spanish warships.
A search revealed 15 Scud missiles hidden beneath the cargo. But the vessel
was eventually allowed to sail on with the missiles to its destination in
Yemen after officials conceded that neither North Korea nor Yemen had
violated any treaties.
In addition to the shipment to Yemen, North Korea is suspected of selling
missile technology to Iran and others, Pentagon officials said.
The study says that none of the major arms makers delivered weapons to Iraq
from 1999 to 2002 -- or at least not in amounts of more than $50 million,
the lowest sales amount included in the study.
But a category of nations labeled "All Other European," which includes
formerly Communist states in Central and Eastern Europe, delivered about
$100 million worth of weapons to Iraq from 1999 to 2002, although the report
does not specify the source of the deliveries.
Ukraine is believed by American officials to have sold an advanced Kolchuga
radar system to Iraq, Pentagon officials said.
Arms deals with developing nations in 2002 totaled $17.7 billion, more than
the $16.2 billion for 2001 but the second-lowest total for the years 1995 to
2002. (The report measures sales and deliveries in dollar totals adjusted
for inflation, called "constant 2002 dollars.")
"Many developing nations have curtailed their expenditures on weaponry
primarily due to their limited financial resources," Mr. Grimmett wrote in
the report. "To meet their military requirements, in current circumstances,
a number of developing nations have placed a greater emphasis on upgrading
existing weapons systems while deferring purchases of new and costlier
Total arms transfer agreements reached nearly $29.2 billion in 2002, a
decrease from 2001 and the second year in a row that total arms sales
dropped, according to the study.
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