War Profiteers

WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair
WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair

Economics is one of the key causes of war - wherever there is a military conflict, someone is profiting from it. We call this "war profiteering".

WRI looks at war profiteering in a broad sense - we consider all companies and initiatives that benefit financially from military conflict as war profiteers, in some sense. This includes the arms trade and companies profiteering for the privatisation and outsourcing of the military, but also those extracting natural resources in conflict zones, financial institutions investing in arms companies, and many others.

WRI publishes a quarterly magazine called War Profiteers' News (in English and Spanish), and organises events to bring campaigners and researchers together to share strategies against war profiteering. In 2017 we will gather members and friends of the WRI network in London, for a seminar called “Stopping the War Business”. Campaigners will share experiences and strategies of countering the arms trade and other war profiteers. The seminar will take place at the same time  as the DSEI arms fair, where we will also take nonviolent direct action together. In 2015, we organised a similar event in Seoul, South Korea, which took place at the same time as the ADEX arms fair.

Working with our friends at Vredesactie, WRI has recently published a new guide to support grassroots activists to research the arms industry in their country. The guide explores where to access accurate and up to date information on arms companies and lobby organisations.

World military expenditure has risen to $1.822 trillion in 2018, representing an increase of 2.6 per cent from 2017, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The increased figure represents an average spend of $239 per person. The five biggest spenders in 2018 were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France, which together accounted for 60 per cent of global military spending. Military spending by the USA increased for the first time since 2010, while spending by China grew for the 24th consecutive year.

The British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged Germany to end it’s ban of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. Hunt has written to his counterpart Heiko Maas, and described how the ban is impacting British companies ability to fulfil their own contracts with Saudi Arabia on a visit to Berlin to discuss Brexit.

Germany has been joined by Finland, Netherlands, and Denmark in a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The decisions follow the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and announcements by the United Nations that Yemen is experiencing the worst famine the world has seen for 100 years.

Following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arbian embassy in Istanbul on October 2nd, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany will halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The Spanish government has decided to go ahead with the delivery of 400 laser guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, worth more than $10m, a few weeks after saying they would cancel the order.

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