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FOG AND FRICTION  |   ARMS BAZAAR  |   MASSES TO THE MASSES  |   GLOBAL CAR  |   FAULT LINES & PIPELINES
UKRAINE SONATA  |   CHECHNYA: SEPARATISM OR JIHAD  |   LAUNCH PADS TO LILY PADS  |   UNFORTUNATE BROTHERS

ARMS BAZAAR (26.46)

While world leaders and the international press focus fix their gaze on the specter of weapons of mass destruction the conventional arms market quietly does several billion dollars worth of business a year. At trade shows like Abu Dhabi's IDEX arms fair, countries from across the globe can shop for a dizzying variety of weapons--from small arms to tanks, to cruise missiles and fighter aircraft--like groceries at market. At IDEX even pariah nations such as Iran and Libya are free to do business with their peers--without the sanctions generally applied to their activities in the international arena.

The weapons bought and sold at IDEX serve to prolong, intensify and escalate conflicts the world over, and are responsible for may thousands of deaths, both civilian and military. Indeed, the land mines, bombs and artillery shells continue to inflict casualties long after the official cessation of hostilities. However, counter wisdom claims that transparency in the arms market around the world creates stability and arming one's friends is far better than not arming them even if they do become an enemy some day.

Of course, buyers and sellers are not the only ones drawn to IDEX. Intelligence agents from all over the world attend as well. The result is a bizarre environment where not everyone is who they seem and tools of death and destruction are cavalierly displayed. So, while prophecies of doom in the form of Weapons of Mass Destruction continue to draw the spotlight, the weapons that will fuel the next Bosnia, Somalia, or Afghanistan are still discretely bought and sold at The Arms Bazaar.


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