The Congressional Research Service recently published a report on conventional arms transfers that identifies Russia as the world’s leading arms supplier to developing countries in 2005. According to CRS calculations, Russia ranked first in arms sales agreements with developing nations, with contracts worth approximately $7 billion. Although Russia’s current arms exports have decreased considerably since the Soviet period, its revenue per transaction is now greater because Russian firms have yielded much of the lower-end market to lower-cost suppliers like China, India, and former Soviet bloc allies. In addition, whereas the U.S.S.R. transferred much weaponry under easy commercial terms or without […]

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Although NATO countries have made some progress in promoting intelligence sharing and mutual law enforcement assistance as part of the Global War on Terrorism, they need to substantially improve their cooperation in researching, developing, and testing homeland security technologies. A strategic and coordinated approach — directed towards generating science and technology (S&T) contributions in areas of highest priority — would help optimize allied countries’ collective response to common security challenges. The Nov. 28-29 NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, could provide an opportune occasion for launching several initiatives to promote such an integrated multinational S&T approach. Europe’s uneven approach towards developing […]

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles by Rhea Wessel on the rights of Muslim women in Europe, particularly Turkish women in Germany. The stories will appear occasionally on World Politics Review. Read the first article in the series here. FRANKFURT, Germany — Fed up with the status quo, a Turkish-born German politician in the Green Party has done just what many German politicians are afraid to do: She has called on Muslim women to take off their headscarves and “arrive in the modern world, arrive in Germany.” “Show that you have the same civil and […]

ANKARA, Turkey — Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and several conspiracy-themed books depicting Turkey as under attack by American and European influences sell briskly in local bookstores. Turkey’s $10 million movie “Valley of Wolves,” the most expensive to date, vilifying Christians and Jews pulls in record crowds. A 28-year-old lawyer shoots a secularist judge to death inside Turkey’s High Court. The Islamic and far-right press is filled with stories of missionaries within Turkish borders converting “defenseless” Muslims to “infidels.” Masked by Turkey’s 80-year Kemalist embrace of secularism, these recent trends reflect a hard fact: Beneath the surface of the West’s most […]

Rumor has it that Democrats are eager to use their newly acquired power in Congress to “investigate” a variety of “uninvestigated scandals” linked to the Bush Administration: among them, the use of “CIA secret prisons” in the war on Islamic terror organizations. If an inquiry is opened into this latter question, one can expect a Democrat-led congressional panel to follow the pattern of investigations that have already been undertaken by the Council of Europe and the EU Parliament. It is indeed the latter investigations that are largely responsible for having converted a practice of detaining enemy operatives that might otherwise […]

When Poland’s president and prime minister, the Kaczynski twins, visited Washington, D.C., in September 2006, they both voiced their support for former Polish chief of state, the post-Communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, who aspired to be the new secretary general, or gensek, of the United Nations. The White House responded with an embarrassing silence. Although George W. Bush had earlier supported Kwasniewski, the United States resolved to back the Korean foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon. Many assumed that Bush discarded Kwasniewski because the Pole could no longer deliver for the United States, as he had by committing Polish troops to the invasion and […]

VALETTA, Malta — On Memorial Day, a senior officer of Malta’s tiny army placed a wreath at the Monument of the Fallen situated just outside the capital. The granite column topped by a golden eagle commemorates the Maltese and British defenders who lost their lives in the heroic 1942 siege, in which Axis planes bombed the island into rubble but failed to take it. The siege of Malta is an incredible saga of resilience in the face of overwhelming odds. But bygones are bygones: Since 2004, the former British colony has been tied to Europe as the smallest member of […]

LONDON — British officials believe an American exit from Iraq will be the goal of a new Bush strategy in the war, and defense sources in London were quoted in the British press Sunday as saying Britain will be doing the same with its 7,500 troops currently in southern Iraq. According to a report in the London Sunday Times, “senior sources” have been saying for some time that British Prime Minister Tony Blair postponed a phased drawdown of his country’s Iraq contingent because “he was reluctant to embarrass Bush before last week’s elections.” Now, however, reports say the British pullout […]

LONDON — The head of the British Security Service (MI5), Eliza Manningham-Buller, who rarely makes public pronouncements, rattled off some chilling statistics Thursday about the Islamist terrorist threat to Britain. The service, she said, is investigating at least 30 top-priority terror plots. Under surveillance are about 200 groups or networks, comprising more then 1,600 individuals “who are actively engaged in plotting or facilitating terrorist acts here or overseas,” she said in a speech at Queen Mary College, London. Her under-strength operation (despite a manpower increase of 50 percent since Sept. 11, 2001) has had to make choices about which threats […]

The second failed test launch of Russia’s experimental Bulava (R-30 SS-NX-30) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in as many months has renewed doubts about the viability of the country’s strategic nuclear deterrent, and in turn increased fears that Russian policy makers might adopt “hair-trigger” operational procedures to guarantee that their nuclear forces could survive and respond to a first strike. The Bulava is a three-staged missile designed to carry up to six individually targeted nuclear warheads for a range of approximately 8,000-10,000 kilometers. The two back-to-back failures have effectively suspended the test program. Previously, the missile had been scheduled to enter […]

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PERUGIA, Italy — Naples, Italy’s third largest city, is experiencing a wave of killings that has left 12 dead in 10 days. The killings are the result of a feud between clans belonging to the Camorra, the loose criminal system operating in the region of Naples. Interceptions collected throughout the year by the Carabinieri — the Italian military police — in the Neapolitan quarter of La Sanita’ were published last week by Il Mattino, Naples’ most widely read newspaper. After the killing of a clansman, an unidentified man was quoted as saying: “Now I will repay you with the same […]

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Apparently, this is a year for close referendums in the Balkans. Earlier this year, Montenegrins voted for independence from Serbia with a 0.5 percent margin of victory. The “yes” vote needed to be 55 percent for the tiny republic to become an independent state. The “yes” campaign carried the day with 55.5 percent. On the weekend of Oct. 28-29, the citizens of Serbia voted in a referendum to approve Serbia’s first non-communist constitution in 60 years. It was another close one. For the constitution to be approved, at least 3.3 million people needed to vote […]

In the title of an article that appeared in the French weekly Valeurs Actuelles in December 2005, the journalist Michel Gurfinkiel asked “Is Freedom of Speech under Threat in France?” Gurfinkiel’s question was prompted by threats of legal action against French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. In an interview with the Israeli paper Haaretz, Finkielkraut had made observations on last fall’s riots in the French banlieues that his detractors denounced as racist “incitement.” Nearly one year on, and following the judgment of a Parisian court in a high profile defamation case, there is no longer room for doubt. Public discourse in France […]