Business as Usual? Arms Sales During COVID-19 – The Media Line

Date and time: Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 4 pm Doha Time (UTC+3)

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  • David Wearing, teaching fellow in international relations, Royal Holloway University
  • Dennis Horak, former Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia
  • Diana Ohlbaum, legislative director for foreign policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the Arms and Military Expenditure Program, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
  • Online Moderator: Noha Aboueldahab, fellow, Brookings Doha Center

As COVID-19 brings human security issues to the fore, the militarization of foreign policy continues. A number of recent developments show that the selling and buying of arms have not slowed, despite calls for a global ceasefire. This raises questions regarding how governments will address foreign policy, human security, and national security during the pandemic and beyond.

In April, Canada announced that it would resume a $10 billion arms export deal with Saudi Arabia, lifting a moratorium it had placed on this contract previously. Meanwhile, Germany increased its arms sales this year; following a major arms deal, Egypt became the largest buyer of German weapons in the first quarter of 2020. India signed a contract with Israel, allowing the former to buy weapons worth $116 million, even as it grapples with high COVID-19 infection rates requiring significant healthcare resources. In May, U.S. President Donald Trump fired Steve Linick, a state department investigator who had nearly completed an investigation into the lawfulness of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

The Brookings Doha Center invites you to attend a webinar on the