(photo) Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007) authored the first draft of the UN Treaty on the arms trade

After seven years of negotiations, on 2 April 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a draft treaty on the arms trade, by 154 votes "for", 23 abstentions [1] and 3 votes "Against ". Western ambassadors enthusiastically congratulated each other for this "historic vote" on an "ambitious text" which "will permanently end the illicit arms trade," as it is "balanced", "effective" and "robust", etc..

By such proud statements, they hoped to convince public opinion that the draft treaty proves they never act against peace and that, by contrast, states that have not voted or those who voted against can not have a clear conscience. To support their argument, they hastened to point out that the three votes "Against" were issued by their long demonized opponents: North Korea, Iran and Syria.

What is it all really about? International law recognizes that, to defend its people, a State may legitimately produce, import, export, transfer, possess weapons or conduct brokerage activities. Meanwhile these activities are forbidden when used to attack or occupy other states or nations.

Although we can not know in advance if a weapon will be used for a legitimate purpose or not, the massive amount of small arms produced in the world is not commensurate with the legitimate use which may be made thereof. And we should not be surprised that some of them are being used for illegitimate purposes, causing unnecessary suffering.

This treaty, having been negotiated in the General Assembly as part of the Conference on Disarmament, is often presented as a light arms extension of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation effort. This is false. As pointed out by the representative of Pakistan: "It is not a disarmament treaty", but a pact on "responsible arms trade." In other words, as its title implicitly reveals, the original wording of the treaty, as presented by Tony Blair, did not aim to promote peace, but to protect industrial and commercial interests of the United Kingdom and expand "Blair doctrine". Just as war is "moral" when undertaken "on humanitarian grounds" to fight against "a violation of human rights" (in the Anglo-American sense of the term), in the same way the arms trade would be "responsible" on the sole condition of not selling to "rogue-buyers" accused of "violating human rights" (always in the Anglo-American sense of the term).

Knowing that ¾ of world trade in arms is controlled by six producing states, a treaty on this activity cannot be applied except as a result of an agreement among them (Germany, China, United States, France, United Kingdom, Russia). This means creating a seller cartel that may possibly impose its prices to increase their profit margins. That is what the representative of Bolivia summarized by saying "The arms industry can sleep soundly for [the wording of] the Treaty defends its interests."

Moreover, knowing that the industrial and commercial cartel, which includes the five permanent members of the Security Council, have the power to prohibit a State from procuring arms on the international market, it may well deprive it of its legitimate means of defense rendering it an easy prey. In the words of Lenin, "Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism."

Despite appearances, the British and French governments are acting consistently in that they seek, on the one hand, to regulate the "arms trade" and, on the other, to lift an embargo (that is to say to deregulate trade) to legalize their illegal transfer of weapons to the mercenaries paid by the Wahhabi dictatorships to destroy Syria.

Ultimately, this draft treaty was stillborn. Even if promptly ratified by fifty states who voted "For", its enforcement will not be applicable. China and Russia have refused to join the Western military-industrial cartel. Despite the economic interest they could derive, they have once again protected the world from Anglo-American commercialism (to which France, changing sides, has rallied). Assuming their status as imperial superpowers, they refused to become imperialist enterprises.

Roger Lagassé
Al-Watan (Syria)

The text of the treaty and all preparatory documents are available in six languages ​​on the ad hoc page of the UN..

[1Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sri Landa, Sudan, Swaziland, Yemen.