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  • Author: Tobias Vestner
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Geneva Paper shows that ATT states parties generally implement the ATT’s prohibitions set forth in Article 6 through national laws and policies. This paper also demonstrates that exporting states implement the ATT’s obligations regarding export assessment contained in Article 7 in many different ways. While the spectrum of how exporting states parties consider an arms exports’ potential effect on peace and security is very broad, their national frameworks contain similar or nearly identical export criteria on assessing the risk of arms being used for serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Few states parties have national export criteria regarding terrorism, transnational organized crime and gender-based violence. States also consider national criteria other than those specified in Article 7 before authorizing arms exports, including positive consequences of arms exports. Finally, states parties’ national frameworks mostly do not define clear thresholds for denying arms exports. Given this divergence in states party implementation, in addition to a remaining lack of clarity on how states apply the ATT provisions in practice, this paper recommends reinforcing dialogue on ATT implementation. This could lead to better understanding and implementation guidance that strengthens the emergence of common standards and improves the quality of national export assessments. To increase states parties’ knowledge on risks to be avoided, institutionalizing cooperation with human rights bodies and establishing an ATT internal information exchange mechanism is also recommended.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Marc Finaud, Gaurav Sharma
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Despite worldwide support of 130 states, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has failed to attract membership from countries in Asia, one of the largest arms importing regions. One set of explanations for this reluctance to join an international regime of conventional arms trade regulation is related to the fear of restrictions on the imports of weapons seen as necessary in a context of protracted conflicts and rising tensions among key states in Asia. Another argument is the interpretation of the ATT as not directly prohibiting arms transfers to non-state actors, such as terrorist groups. Another reason is the efforts of some Asian states to develop their own arms industry and exports to reduce dependency on external suppliers and project influence in the region. One of the main criticisms from the Asian states about the ATT relates to the criteria of export risk assessment (Article 7), which, in their view, gives undue advantages to exporting countries. It would be desirable to promote some dialogue between State Parties and Asian non-parties and signatories to assess the benefits from and the difficulties in implementing the Treaty and address the objections of nonparties. Amending the Treaty will be easier if Asian countries accede to it.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons , Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Indonesia, India, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tobias Vestner
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The Arms Trade Treaty and the Wassenaar Arrangement both seek to address the challenge posed by unconstrained transfer of conventional arms but differ in structure and approach. There are opportunities for synergies furthering the regimes’ common purpose. States members to both regimes can accentuate and interweave the strengths of the Arms Trade Treaty and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Transferring cutting-edge standards on export controls from the Wassenaar Arrangement to the Arms Trade Treaty would bolster the Arms Trade Treaty and foster global harmonization between exporting and importing countries. Political momentum on certain issues within the Arms Trade Treaty process may benefit the Wassenaar Arrangement’s further development. A derivative of the Wassenaar Arrangement’s regular ‘General Information Exchange’ on regions, transfers, and risky actors could be institutionalized within an Arms Trade Treaty working group. Sharing within the Wassenaar Arrangement information, concerns and practical challenges of states parties to the Arms Trade Treaty could make the Wassenaar Arrangement’s work more effective. Coordinating both regimes’ outreach activities, mentioning each other’s work and using each other’s documents for capacity building could mainstream arms transfer controls, prevent perceptions of conflicting standards as well as enable efficiencies regarding national efforts for compliance with international standards.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Arms Trade, Exports
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shemuel Meir
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Attempts to achieve a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD-Free Zone) in the Middle East have become even more complicated than in the past. This Policy Forum issue provides a fresh look at the topic in order to offer common ground for positive discussions on Middle East disarmament. Its main novelty is to look at the security threat as perceived by Israel in the context of an Israeli-Egyptian-Iranian triangle that complements the old paradigm of an Israeli-Egyptian dyad. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or agreement/accord) with Iran is a challenge for some regional actors but at the same time could form a basis for bridging the disarmament gap, especially with its unprecedented robust verification regime. From a purely strategic angle, the JCPOA is beneficial to Israel’s national security interests. It is therefore to be hoped that this multilateral agreement will withstand the Donald Trump administration’s attempts to dismantle it.
  • Topic: National Security, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weapons , Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Marc Finaud, Bernd W. Kubbig
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The highly controversial missile problem in the Middle East should – and can – be constructively tackled by not singling out Iran and by avoiding onesided maximalist and unrealistic demands towards Tehran. The authors aim at providing incentives for Iran to start discussion on its missile arsenal in three ways: they propose (a) applying vital elements that led to the successful conclusion of the JCPOA; (b) regionalising future talks in a triangle that includes from the beginning the missiles of Saudi Arabia and Israel; and (c) starting with modest confidence-building steps among the three major powers. Among the extra-regional players the United States continues to have a special responsibility for engaging in such a cooperative approach.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Christian Koch, Marc Finaud, Bernd W. Kubbig
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue analyses the 2004-2006 initiative to establish a sub-regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Gulf (GWMDFZ) as a tool to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapon state. The initiative’s gradual approach which aimed at the ultimate goal of encompassing the entire Middle East (including Israel) was innovative, and the assertive role of some smaller Gulf states in expressing their security concerns/interests and verification standards that Tehran would have had to meet was unprecedented. But the entire sub-regional idea remained confined to the declaratory level. In contrast, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or greement/accord) – endangered as it currently is – struck between the E3/EU+3 and Iran exceeds some of the concerns of the earlier initiative, yet misses others. We conclude that new – and ultimately sustainable – regional forums as communication mechanisms are needed to tackle these issues without touching on the JCPOA. The challenges go beyond Iran and include the nuclear activities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and even more so of Saudi Arabia. Our Cooperative Idea emphasises that moving beyond the purely declaratory policy of the GWMDFZ initiative could also help to overcome the current stalemate regarding a zonal disarmament arrangement for the whole Middle East/Gulf region.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction, History
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Bijan Khajehpour
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Based on his rich experience since 1994 as a strategy consultant for major international companies investing in Iran, the author makes the case for using the achievement-oriented approach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a model for tackling all major regional challenges in a cooperative way, especially by non-governmental actors.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Non State Actors, Business , Trade
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Muller
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue advocates using elements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or agreement/accord) in prospective negotiations to create a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East. In a stalemated situation resembling efforts to negotiate a zonal arrangement, the JCPOA after more than 12 years of negotiations succeeded in striking a multilateral deal among adversaries with diverging capabilities and agendas who doubted each other’s intentions and were reluctant to make concessions.By establishing an incentive-based mechanism that encouraged and facilitated cooperation, the JCPOA succeeded in trading various issues to reach common ground in an incremental step-by-step approach of carefully sequenced quid pro quos. Framed as an agreement among equals and safeguarded by multiple compliance mechanisms, the JCPOA (or aspects of it) could serve as a toolbox for zonal negotiations on disarmament, help to link hardened actors, and break up entrenched interest structures and dogmatic policy positions.
  • Topic: Security, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons , Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue analyses both progress made by and challenges facing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It does so in order to explore under what conditions and to what extent these two conventions might help build a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs). Finally, the issue presents some options for the future and a major long-term initiative towards this ambitious goal.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Bernd W. Kubbig, Marc Finaud, Ali Fathollah-Nejad
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The dangerous spiralling of the rivalry between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran for hegemony/supremacy in the Middle East/Gulf is the factor that has the most negative impact on the entire region. The authors make the case for using the specific features and successful negotiations of the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a way to downgrade this bilateral rivalry. This agreement was the focal point of (pre-)negotiations especially between the United States and Iran that de-escalated the tensions between the two enemies and turned them – at least during the administration of President Barack Obama – into adversaries with an interest in selective cooperation. The agreement is living proof that formerly incompatible interests can be overcome. It is true, however, that, despite its complexity, the JCPOA can only have a limited influence on developments in the region. This is why the authors identify the roots of the intensifying Saudi Iranian rivalry at the domestic, regional and international levels – with corresponding recommended steps to de-escalate this struggle. The prospects for such a positive scenario appear to be particularly promising if elites in both Riyadh and Tehran – especially since they are facing increasing domestic challenges to regime/government stability – opt to slow down or even reverse their countries’ current course. A more assertive population, especially among women and the youth, has become a new factor for serious change. This may incentivise these elites to pursue less costly foreign policy approaches – including finding appropriate forums for serious dialogue, with de-escalating the mutually demonising rhetoric as the first step.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia