Banning nuclear weapons: point of no return

“The Nayarit conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons demonstrated beyond doubt that preventing nuclear catastrophe is the responsibility and right of all. As Austria picks up the baton, the challenge will be to move forward in a process that is open to all and blockable by none” says Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy and Co-Chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.


As the Nayarit Conference applauded the decision by Austria’s Foreign Minister to host the third Conference in Vienna later in the year, the spotlight now turns to Europe, which has the highest concentration of nuclear-dependent countries, including Britain, France, Russia and NATO, with US nuclear weapons still stationed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey.

Humanitarian perspectives are changing the way the world looks at nuclear weapons. Side by side in Nayarit were representatives from 146 states, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), many national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the World Health Organisation (WHO), humanitarian response organisations, academics and civil society organisations from all around the world, who were coordinated through the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Source: Open Democracy

To read the full article please click here.

For more information please check Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy and International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons websites.




Nuclear Weapons: Hope at Last

Jim Mc Cluskey, author of The Nuclear Threat, published today an article about the recent development in nuclear disarmament.

From the article:

“Citizens of the world have simultaneously become aware that the nuclear states do not intend to get rid of their nuclear weapons and that their existence imposes a permanent and intolerable threat to us all. The existence of nuclear weapons means they could be used by accident, by misunderstanding or by malicious intent. How can we ever be sure that some deranged psychopath will not gain power in one of the nuclear states and deceive him/herself into believing that it is in their best interests to make a first strike? How can we ever be sure that some terrorist organisations will not hack into the electronic control systems and carry out the launching themselves? [...]

The only remedy is an enforced world ban on the existence of nuclear weapons. The other weapons of mass destruction have already been banned. It is the turn of the last and most destructive of them all.

And finally there is hope. The huge burgeoning of awareness in the citizens of the world is bearing fruit.”

Read the full article here.

For more information about the civil sociery efforts in banning nuclear weapons, please refer to the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons ICAN.

European taxpayers are spending millions supporting unaccountable drones industry, report reveals

How far reaching is the EU’s financing and support for the emerging drone industry? With what intended purpose? And what will be the consequences for European citizens?

Eurodrones, Inc. tells the story of how European citizens are unknowingly subsidising through their taxes a controversial drone industry yet are systematically excluded from any debates about their use. Behind empty promises of consultation, EU officials have turned over much of drone policy development to the European defence and security corporations which seek to profit from it. The current trajectory points in the direction of an increasingly militarised and repressive use of drones that will have far-reaching implications for the privacy and human rights for citizens of Europe and beyond.

Source: Transnational Institute, Peace and Security publications.

To read the full executive summary please click here. Or download the full report at this link.

Pentagon to boost missile defense spending by over $4 billion: sources

The U.S. Defense Department plans to ask Congress for $4.5 billion in extra missile defense funding over the next five years as part of the fiscal 2015 budget request, say congressional sources and an expert.

Nearly $1 billion of that sum will pay for a new homeland defense radar to be placed in Alaska, with an additional $560 million to fund work on a new interceptor after several failed flight tests, said Riki Ellison, founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, and two of the congressional sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Pentagon’s request for added funding comes despite continued pressure on military spending and cuts in other arms programs, a sign of Washington’s growing concern about missile development efforts by North Korea and Iran, the sources said.

The White House plans to send its fiscal 2015 budget request to Congress on March 4.


Source: Reuters.

Finish reading the article here.

Military Balance IISS 2014 report just published

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) launched The Military Balance 2014  on Wednesday 5 February 2014.

The Military Balance is The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual assessment of the military capabilities and defence economics of 171 countries worldwide. It is a detailed list of each country’s military organisation, personnel numbers, equipment inventories, and relevant economic and demographic data.

This year edition covers the major development affecting defence policy and procurement, and defence economics, not only in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but also in Latin America, Russia, North America and Africa.

Part I contains essays that analyse important defence trends or debates. In particular, specialist essays focus on trends in conflict analysis, notably lessons from modern conflicts in terms of threats and required capabilities; unmanned systems, increasingly prevalent in many armed forces and likely to proliferate further; and the cyber domain.

Regional chapters begin with an overview of the military issues facing the region, trends observed during the preceding year and regional defence economics, followed for select states by country-specific analysis of defence policy and capability issues, and defence economics.

The chart of conflict is updated for 2014 and usefully illustrates the distribution and duration of conflicts that dominate life for governments and societies across the world.


Source: The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

For more information please click here. 

Watch the launch event online: Military Balance 2014 Launch