There is a market that knows no crisis, indeed it grows exponentially: the market of weapons. We do not need financial mathematics sophisticated formulas to understand the phenomenon, but only logic: more wars there are, greater is the demand, with the consequent rise of the economic activity. In short, death pays, and also good. The multi billion dollars’ cake is divided not only between illegal networks operating in the dark, but especially by the eastern and western superpowers. The same superpowers, to understand, that then at the UN discuss about peace, prosperity and human rights. The same ones that are be part of the international bodies called upon to condemn the massacres perpetrated with the arsenals produced and sold by them.
Who makes the profit
It is shown in the report for the five years 2012-2016 of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) that tells the story of a market that has never been so flourishing from the time of the Cold War. Good news for the producers, a little less for the populations of the regions devastated by bloody conflicts. But as they say “business is business” even if it kills. At the top of the list of the largest exporters there are once again the United States, which alone cover 33.2% of the market supplying at least one hundred countries (the import of arms from the USA over the last 5 years has grown by 21%). In second place Russia (23% of the sector) which deals mainly with four nations – China, Vietnam, India and Algeria. Follow, outdistanced, China (6.2%), France (6%) and Germany (5.6%). But if the export of war of Paris is destined to grow – thanks to some contracts signed in recent years – the one of Berlin, already in decline from 2012 to today, should have a further decrease.
The Middle East at the top
Let’s talk about the customers. With an increase of 86% in imports of weapons between 2007-11 and 2012-16, the Middle East taken as a whole, holds the (sad) primacy of being the biggest importer. A trend that has not even been affected by the consistent drop of the oil price. Despite this, in fact, the countries of the region are engaged in an arms race that knows no end nor boundaries, fed by the dramatic crisis affecting the region, from the Syrian war to the Yemeni conflict. “In 2016 they continued to order more weapons, perceived as crucial tools to manage conflicts and regional tensions,” stressed Siemon Wezeman, researcher of the Sipri. Among the most assiduous buyers there are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have registered an increase of respectively 212% and 245% in imports compared with the previous five-year period. And the regional neighbours are not to be outdone, even if not up to these (very high) levels. The only exception is Iran, subject to embargo, to which have been sold only 1,2% of the arms transferred (excluding the agreement with Moscow on sale of air defence missiles S-300, the first important purchase in the sector made by Teheran from 2007).
The growth of India
The Asian continent remains one of the main destinations for armaments with India which takes the lion’s share. New Delhi has registered an increase of 43% from the five-year period 2007-11 to 2012-16, coming to represent the 13% of the world market, with a share much higher than its neighbours: China and Pakistan. This allows them to stand out as the major importer at global level, overcoming Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (respectively second and third in the standings). This happens, explained Wezeman, in part because “compared to Beijing, that is always more capable of replacing imports of weapons with local production, India remains dependent on many willing suppliers, from Russia to the United States from the European countries to Israel and South Korea”. Among the countries of south-east Asia (+6.2%), stands out Vietnam, passed from the 29th position in 2007-11 to the 10th in 2012-16, with an increase of imports of weapons that has touched the 202%.