Globalization Of Arms Trade and terrorism

Globalization Of Arms Trade: Capitalizing Terrorism As Money-Making Cause

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  • Post last modified:23/03/2022

Globalization of arms trade and terrorism have become profit-mongering aspects of the modern world. They both profit from each other. As for terrorism, it can now show a stronger presence with even more devastating prospects to the opponent with the modernised weapons, while through the prospect of globalisation more weapons and new ways of killing are sent to the terrorist groups.

Now the killing of civilians for the terrorists, terrorising the law-abiding citizens; rivalry against rivals, and nations against nations have become unexpectedly easier. Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind said, “There is nothing that money can’t buy”. True, some just need to have money to buy arms or weapons to kill anyone who is not compatible ideologically.

Globalization of arms trade

Along with economic prosperity, followed the fear of life, the fear of losing social supremacy. The growing fear and threat from the religious, political and economic majority give birth to the fear of the existence of life which in turn gives birth to a new demand to possess weaponry under the pretext of self-protection.

According to Pew Research, more than 42 per cent of adult Americans own a gun or grew up with a family that owns a gun for personal protection. According to Estimating Global Civilian Held Firearms Numbers by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, at the end of 2017, there were approximately 1,013 million firearms in the 230 countries and autonomous territories of the world, 84.6 per cent of which were held by civilians, 13.1 per cent by state militaries, and 2.2 per cent by law enforcement agencies.

Ownership of firearm survey
Ownership of firearms. Survey: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia.

National ownership rates vary from about 120.5 firearms for every 100 residents in the United States to less than 1 firearm for every 100 residents in countries like Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, and several Pacific Island states.

Nearly 700,000 civilians in Bangladesh own a firearm, of which about 200,000 firearms are unregistered. With financial security and racial supremacy comes individual insecurity. National spending on arms is growing, as well. The production of arms is growing with burgeoning demand, with that growing possession of arms, while possessing becoming easier. The world military expenditures stand at 1981 billion USD, with US 778 billion and China 252 billion USD in 2020.

Availability and accessibility to a firearm are also responsible for increased homicide, suicide and accidental injuries. Given the data published by healthdata, the phenomena are very plausible. They found 43,200 firearm-related deaths in Brazil, 37,200 in US, 26,500 in India, Mexico 15,400, 13,300 in Colombia, 12,800 in Venezuela, 8,020 in the Philippines, 5090 in Guatemala, 4,380 in Russia and 4,050 in Afghanistan.

In Greenland, 22.0 persons die in 100,000 people of suicide by firearms, which is 6.4 in the United States, 4.2 in Uruguay, 3.1 in Zimbabwe, 3.0 in Venezuela, 2.7 in Argentina, 2.5 in Switzerland, 2.5 in Montenegro, 2.4 in Finland and 2.4 in Serbia.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the total value of the global arms trade of 25 companies is 361 billion USD, in 2019. USA, Russia, France, China, Germany, Italy, the UK, South Korea, Spain, Israel, and other countries share only around 8 per cent Italy are the major arms exporter countries, with the highest share of export of the USA, 39 per cent global. Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, China, Qatar, South Korea, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Japan are the major importer country with 55 per cent of the global share, while the Middle East received 27.1 per cent of the global total in 2017-2021.

Top 10 firearms exporting countries in the world
Arms exporter and importer countries. Photo: SIPRI

As the availability and affordability of a firearm are growing, so is the number of deaths across the world. The world would not have to witness a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 had there been no easy access to the AR-15 rifle, the civilian semiautomatic version of an M16 rifle by the shooter Adam Lanza. Arms related casualties and conflicts of the sort are prevalent in the page of human history.

Top 10 arms importing countries
Top arms importing countries. Photo-SIPRI

terrorism related disasters

There were 120,000-armed conflict-related fatalities in 2020 in 39 states, let alone the death from terrorism-related casualties. There were 236,422 deaths from terrorism
between 2002 and 2019. Over the last two decades, just under 99,000 people have been killed in terrorist attacks on police, the military, and infrastructure targets in countries in conflict. By contrast, nearly 126,000 people were killed in attacks targeting civilians in conflict countries. Between 2002 and 2019, the largest number of deaths from terrorism was recorded in MENA (the Middle East and North Africa), at more than 96,000 deaths.

56 million people died in 2017, of which 2,644 people died in terrorism. Terrorism is one of the primary causes of death globally. The GTD-2020 (Global terrorism data) contains over 170,000 terrorist incidents for the period of 50 years, from 1970 to 2019.

As per the Global Terrorism Index 2014: the large loss of life and destruction of infrastructure from September 11 totalled $55 billion in New York alone, while secondary effects such as increased security ($589 billion), decreased economic activity ($123 billion) and other costs have been totalled to as much as $3.3 trillion. Global Terrorism Index 2019 reports that “the global economic impact of terrorism was estimated to be US$26.4 billion in 2019 which was 116 billion in 2014”.

According to the Global Terrorism Index-2022, global deaths from terrorism have declined while Sub-Sarahan Africa has been found to be an emerging epicentre of terrorism. The region accounted for 48% of global terrorism. Even though the latest data records a 1.2% decrease of global terrorist-related deaths to 7,142, the attacks rate is increased by 17%. But he terrorism-related casualties are expected to increase due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Can arms casualties and terrorism-related deaths be one of the contributing factors to human extinction? Arms industries are flourishing, the terrorist and rival groups are getting stronger, with a stronger presence among the weaker, innocuous many. Almost every conflict, struggle, rivalry involve modernised weapons that cause greater devastation.

Again, the terrorist group of Nigeria attacked a mosque and killed 18 worshipers in the mosque on 26 October 2021. Kabul has seen the deadliest terrorist attack on the Shiite minority community mosque on 15 October. Killing Muslims by Islamic sectarians or Islamic terrorists see no respite. Brothers killing brothers because of ideological diversities.

Religious and ideological supremacy is taking precedence over the weak and minorities. With easier access to modern weapons, terrorist groups now create even greater havoc. They continue their depredation with a renewed strategy every day.

But how can we expect terrorism to end, and human casualties to be lessened while the powerful countries play a dual role? They want us to demobilise and depoliticise religious ideology while they themselves remain profit mongers and earn a gigantic amount of revenue by selling arms. How would the terrorist thrive with ancient ideology but without sophisticated weaponry and modern armoury?

The growing threat of terrorism

One thing is clear Muslims are being killed by Muslims with the weapons made in the non-Muslim nation, and making their treasury fatter out of the sectarian conflicts or religious war, waged on the Kafir. For the powerful players, war is always a profitable affair.

causes of deaths
Terrorism and globalization and the causes of death. Photo by OurWorldInData.

Fundamentalists want us to believe that the freedom of speech, democracy, universal adult suffrage, Jews, homosexuals, women’s right, pluralism, secularism, short skirt, sex and beardlessness is bad and should be stopped. The British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

As long as there is someone or some country for the radicals to get protection, no war on terror, no effort of establishing democracy, no amount of discouragement, no amount of intelligence of the intelligent will suffice to stop them from killing innocent human beings, and from being cocksure of what they believe to be true, no matter how untrue it can be. Terrorism and globalization will always remain benefactors to each other.

Romzanul Islam

Thinking out of the convention and moving forward with knowledge and reasons are always my styles. Researching, watching the best films, reading and collecting the best books to enrich me is my deadly passion. Stoicism, liberalism, feminism and aversion to material success are my ideals.

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