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26.5.2018 : 16:08 : +0200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Weapons and Markets

 
 

   

   

   

   

   

   

The increase in the availability and circulation of small arms and light weapons continues to be a worrying consequence of the region’s instability. Decades of conflict in the region and at its periphery have resulted in a vast and increasing pool of small arms and light weapons circulating from conflict to conflict. The dangers of such large numbers of weapons in countries suffering from economic, social, and political instabilities are well known.[1]

The Security Assessment in North Africa is contributing in the efforts to monitor arms in North Africa and the Sahel-Sahara region by documenting the technical characteristics of small arms and light weapons observed in the field, as well as the associated ammunition. It is also analyzing local and transnational patterns, with an emphasis on the impact of the region’s conflicts on traditional trafficking routes and networks in particular, and community security in general.

 

We find that:

  • The region is awash in small arms, light weapons, and associated ammunition. The items range from older, colonial-era ammunition and weapons, through to Cold-War vintage Eastern Bloc-standard ammunition, to weapons and ammunition of modern manufacture from all over the world. Examples include Sudanese ammunition and weapons; Iranian ammunition; AK-pattern rifles from Russia, Eastern Europe, and China; and blank-firing handguns (primarily from Turkey) converted into lethal-purpose firearms.
  • New methods of buying and selling small arms, light weapons, and associated ammunition provide the potential for even less accountability. Arms sales over social media sites, for example, is one such new market.
  • Small arms, light weapons, and associated ammunition are widely circulating in the region, moving from one conflict zone to another. The circulation of small arms, light weapons, and associated ammunition is fueling unstable security in the region. At the same time, the unstable security in the region is driving demand for small arms, light weapons, and associated ammunition. This circularity increases the region’s already uncertain social and political turbulence.
  • Newer, more heavily armed groups continue to supplant traditional actors, methods, and long-established informal trade routes. In border areas, the involvement of these groups in trafficking is a source of insecurity, conflict, and power struggles. Increasing transnational membership, coupled with stable funding schemes, may render armed actors like IS more self-reliant in procuring arms, able to use avenues including private traders. 
  • New weapons and ammunition continue to make their way into the region despite international efforts (sanctions, embargoes, etc.) to stop such import. Stockpiles from the former Qaddafi regime remain a notable source of weapons and ammunition, including of sophisticated weapons systems like MANPADS. 
  • The bulk of weapons and ammunition in the region still appears to be Eastern Bloc-standard. Regional surveys examining ammunition found in Syria and in Côte d’Ivoire have traced ammunition to factories in China, Iran, Sudan, Syria and former Eastern Bloc countries. Weapons offered for sale over social media are predominantly from this region as well. 

[1] See, for example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, Goal 16’s target 16.4 aims to: ‘By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime. For more information on Target 16.4, please see the Global Partnership on Small Arms website.

Project Publications

  • At the Crossroads of Sahelian Conflicts: Insecurity, Terrorism, and Arms Trafficking in Niger, by Savannah de Tessières. Small Arms Survey SANA Report, January 2018. 

    Download (3.56 MB)
  • Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), January 2011, updated June 2017. Research Note No. 1, Weapons and Markets (also availabe in Arabic, BCMS, and Bulgarian).

    Download (359.52 KB)
  • Beyond the 'Wild West': The Gold Rush in Northern Niger, by Mathieu Pellerin. SANA Briefing Paper, June 2017 (also available in Arabic and French).

    Download (1.35 MB)
  • Web Trafficking: Analysing the Online Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Libya, by N.R. Jenzen-Jones and Ian McCollum, April 2017. Working Paper No. 26 (also available in Arabic).

    Download (1.18 MB)
  • Measuring Illicit Arms Flows: Niger, by Savannah de Tessières. Briefing Paper, March 2017 (also available in Arabic and French).

    Download (959.7 KB)
  • The Online Trade of Light Weapons in Libya, by N. R. Jenzen-Jones and Graeme Rice, April 2016. Security Assessment in North Africa Dispatch No. 6. (also available in Arabic)

    Download (1.64 MB)
  • Missing Missiles: The Proliferation of Man-portable Air Defence Systems in North Africa, June 2015. Security Assessment in North Africa Issue Brief No. 2. (also available in Arabic).

    Download (781.18 KB)
  • Armed Groups and Guided Light Weapons: 2014 Update with MENA Focus, December 2014. Research Note No. 47, Armed Actors. (also available in Arabic)

    Download (300.07 KB)
  • Identifying Sources: Small-calibre Ammunition in Côte d'Ivoire, by Holger Anders, a joint publication of the Small Arms Survey/Security Assessment North Africa project and the Integrated Embargo Monitoring Unit of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire. June 2014. Special Report No. 21. (This report is also available in French.)

    Download (3.12 MB)
  • Following the Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre Ammunition Documented in Syria, by N.R. Jenzen-Jones, April 2014. Working Paper No. 18 (also available in Arabic)

    Download (1.59 MB)
  • On the Edge? Trafficking and Insecurity at the Tunisian–Libyan Border, by Moncef Kartas, December 2013. Working Paper No. 17 (also available in Arabic and French)

    Download (1.66 MB)
  • Small-calibre Ammunition in Libya: An Update, by N.R. Jenzen-Jones, December 2013. Security Assessment in North Africa Dispatch No. 2 (also available in Arabic).

    Download (866.08 KB)
  • FAL Rifles in Libya: A Guide to Data Gathering, by Damien Spleeters, July 2013. Security Assessment in North Africa Dispatch No. 1 (also available in Arabic).

    Download (842.71 KB)
  • The Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre Ammunition Found in Libya, by N.R. Jenzen-Jones, May 2013. Working Paper No. 16 (also available in Arabic)

    Download (3.47 MB)
  • Rebel Forces in Northern Mali: Documented Weapons, Ammunition and Related Materiel. Co-published with Conflict Armament Research, April 2013.

    Download (1009.91 KB)
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Other Publications

  • Anti-tank Guided Weapons, April 2012, updated June 2017. Research Note No. 16, Weapons and Markets (also available in BCMS and Bulgarian).

    Download (475.47 KB)
  • Trade Update 2016: Transfers and Transparency, by Irene Pavesi. June 2016.

    Download (4.71 MB)
  • Fire and Forget: The Proliferation of Man-portable Air Defence Systems in Syria, August 2014. Issue Brief No. 9.

    Download (589.63 KB)
  • Florquin, Nicolas. 2014. Arms Prices and Conflict Onset: Insights from Lebanon and Syria. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. May.

    More information
  • Military Assault Rifles, January 2013. Research Note No. 25, Weapons and Markets.

    Download (354.68 KB)
  • Scraping the Barrel: The Trade in Surplus Ammunition, April 2011. Issue Brief No. 2.

    Download (1.6 MB)
  • Targeting Ammunition: A Primer, edited by Stéphanie Pézard and Holger Anders, co-published with CICS, GRIP, SEESAC, and Viva Rio, June 2006.

    More information
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