Though Europe does not have the rates of gun violence the United States continues to grapple with, European governments have made over a billion euros by fueling gun violence in the Middle East and North Africa.
A report conducted by a team of reporters from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) found a group of European nations has been funneling arms into the Middle East region since 2012, making at least 1.2 billion euros in the process.
According to the report, 68 flights that took place within 13 months transported weapons and ammunition to the Middle East, including to NATO member Turkey, which in turn “funnelled arms into brutal civil wars in Syria and Yemen.” The report also notes that these flights make up only a small portion of the 1.2 billion euros in arms deals between Europe and the Middle East since 2012.
The report’s conclusions are horrifying, to say the least. The report states:
“Arms export licenses, which are supposed to guarantee the final destination of the goods, have been granted despite ample evidence that weapons are being diverted to Syrian and other armed groups accused of widespread human rights abuses and atrocities.”
Considering Europe is battling a continually rising terrorist threat, they seem to be going about tackling this issue the wrong way.
Surely the best way to counter terrorism is to cease funding it in the first place.
One astounding aspect of the report is that the lucrative war-profiteering business involves nations the world would not usually regard as overly-interested in war. The countries contributing to the rising terror threat, as identified by the report, are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Romania, among others.
This report adds to the already glaring problem of European countries making billions of dollars off the death and destruction of Middle Eastern civilian life. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found the United Kingdom was second only to the United States in arms sales, making up 10.4 percent of the total $401 billion worth of arms sold around the world for the 2014 period.
Although these figures refer directly to companies selling arms, the fact remains that European governments do nothing to deter this. In fact, former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron insists the U.K. has “one of the strictest regimes anywhere in the world for sales of defence equipment but we do believe that countries have a right to self-defence.”
Shamefully, the United Kingdom’s billion dollar arms sales have been fueling the conflict in Yemen — the poorest and most disadvantaged country in the Arab region — by arming the aggressive Saudi Arabian regime. Saudi Arabia’s ongoing intervention in Yemen merely benefits al-Qaeda.
Arms sales from Britain to human rights abusers are only increasing. The idea that European governments want to prevent terrorist attacks on the European mainland is ludicrous given the fact European governments continue to directly arm terrorist groups and brutal regimes that export jihadist philosophies.
But hey, at least they made a billion dollars, right?