Ukraine, arms supply, and global terrorism

The invasion of Ukraine drove up demand for Ameri­can-made weapons and ammunition, while U.S. allies in Eastern Europe are “putting a lot of orders,” in for a range of arms as they supply Ukraine. Already, exit from Afghanistan had left lots of air-dropped bombs available, which though cannot be easily used with Ukrainian aircraft, are being convert­ed to standoff capability. Meanwhile, huge amounts of often highly sophis­ticated military equipment were also left behind in Afghanistan, following 20 years of war, which, as we know, quickly fell into the hands of the Taliban and ISIS. This situation can repeat itself in Ukraine.

Many European and International watchers express concerns about the future of weapons delivered to Ukraine. According to Interpol chief Jurgen Stock the criminals are focus­ing on weapons. It’s necessary to be alarmed and expect these weapons to be trafficked to neighbouring coun­tries and other continents, once the guns fall silent in Ukraine.

We know this from many other theatres of conflict. Criminal groups try to exploit these chaotic situations and avail themselves of weapons, even those used by the military and including heavy weapons. These will be available on the criminal market and will create a global challenge. No country or region can deal with it in isolation because these groups oper­ate at a global level. We can expect an influx of weapons in Europe and beyond.

One is witnessing today in Ukraine the manifestation of the same phe­nomenon of intending arms falling into the wrong hands. Ukraine has a bad reputation as a hub of smuggled arms and ammunition, even before the Russian invasion, the most prominent case being that of the MV Faina, a Ukrainian cargo ship that was caught trafficking tanks, artillery and AKM assault rifles to Sudan in 2009 – which came to light, only when the ship was captured by Somali pirates.

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Ukraine’s Western allies have sent shipments of high-end military weapons to Ukraine since the Russian invasion. The US president, Joe Biden, announced the US would supply Kyiv with ad­vanced missile systems and muni­tions. The Germans, even though reluctant, are being persuaded by Europe to send the offensive Tank Leopard II, while Poland is also too eager to send more tanks and drones.

Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation said it had received preliminary information that criminals in Finland might have procured military arms, such as assault rifles, meant for Ukrainian forces. ‘Weapons shipped by vari­ous countries to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands,’ Europol issued a statement warning that the proliferation of firearms and explosives in Ukraine could lead to an increase in firearms and munitions trafficked into the EU via established smuggling routes or online platforms.

There are many reports that weapons delivered by Western countries to Ukraine to counter the Russian offensive had been advertised for sale in the Middle East and North Africa.

Taking into account that the se­curity situation in the Sahel region is deteriorating, there is no guar­antee that weapons from Ukraine will not come to terrorist groups in West Africa. It is a known fact that, terrorism festers, where there is instability. North Africa (specifically Libya) and the area, popularly labelled as the ‘Arc of Terror’, with the Sahel as epicenter in Africa, is in turmoil.

That’s why all African coun­tries, including Ghana, should speak with one voice against such uncontrolled supplies of lethal arms to Kyiv. If not, the current situation in Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and many other countries can become even worse, if these weapons managed to end up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

Also, there is complete vacuum in global leadership. Someone must be seen to be talking PEACE by now. Someone should have been ready to initiate peace moves. Unfortunately, the West, led by the US, has an insipid desire to see Russia, not only defeated but also imploded and the supply of weap­ons, which goes in to benefit only the military industrial complex of the US, is the main concern, not peace. Africa should show matu­rity by initiating moves towards peace, instead of blatantly singing the swan songs.

Why was Africa silent when Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, and Libya were invaded?

The current zero-sum transac­tional approach to international politics cannot be allowed to go on. Some peace-loving countries must make a move for peace in Ukraine.

Ghana may emulate the example of its first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in initiating moves for peace in Ukraine. He did it in the case of Vietnam and laid the foundation for the Paris Talks that ended the Vietnam War. The late Kwesi Armah called it “Power Without the Bomb”, while Ambassador Quarm called it the “Diplomatic Offensive”.

Ghana now occupies an envi­able position at the UN Security Council. Please stop being a lapping dog for US Foreign Policy and stand up and be counted. Help stop the war in Ukraine.


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