World military expenditure in 2013 is estimated to have been $1747 billion, representing 2.4 per cent of global gross domestic product or $248 for each person alive today, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI)‘s Yearbook 2014, Armaments, Disarmament and International Security*, issued earlier this month.
**The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | Artist: Vasily Vereshchagin (1842–1904) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q127017 | Current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Link back to Institution infobox template wikidata:Q183334 | Wikimedia Commons
The total is about 1.9 per cent lower in real terms than in 2012. The pattern of increases and decreases in military spending in 2012 continued in 2013, with falls in Western countries (North America, Western and Central Europe, and Oceania) and increases in the rest of the world.
There were particularly large increases in Africa and the Middle East, while the impact of austerity policies continued to be felt in Europe.
The United States remained the largest military spender in 2013, followed at some distance by China and Russia.
read more »
Human Wrongs Watch
By RT*, 21 November 2014 – The US anti-ISIS policy only helps them recruit more people, while the only way to fight ISIS is to secure borders and re-examine immigration policies both in America and Europe, retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor told RT.
**Collage of 2014 military intervention against ISIS | Author: ZiaLater | Wikimedia Commons
President Obama is under increasing pressure from the military to send troops to fight against the Islamic State. It has also been reported that the Pentagon doesn’t have enough drones to use against extremists.
RT: Do you think President Obama’s policy in fighting the Islamic State is working?
Douglas MacGregor: Of course not, it is completely unsuccessful from the standpoint of destroying ISIS, but it’s an enormous success story for ISIS. It is actually helping the Sunni Islamists recruit new people – more than a thousand every month from across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
read more »
The 2014 Don’t Bank on the Bomb report was launched earlier this month. The International Campaign against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)* spoke with co-author of the report, Susi Snyder from PAX, about the impact of the report, and how you can take action to stop nuclear weapons financing. Act now and tell your bank not to invest in nuclear weapons.
There is increased awareness among the public about the way financial institutions behave, and how they invest their money. How do you see this report contributing to increasing understanding about nuclear weapon investments?
Susi Snyder: The great thing about the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report is that it gives every person with a bank account (and that’s most of us!) an easy way to do something about nuclear weapons.
You don’t need to have a background in physics or international relations or high finance to say loud and clear “these weapons are unacceptable, and I don’t want to pay for them!” This report is unique in the world because there is no other single place to find all of this information.
read more »
By Maya Ameratunga, Kabul, Afghanistan, 20 November 2014 (UNHCR)* – The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted 25 years ago today to protect children like Hasanat, Aisha and Safia.
© UNHCR/B.Baloch | Young Afghan refugees on their way home to Afghanistan wave goodbye to Pakistan.
The three, aged between seven and 13, have all returned to a homeland, Afghanistan, that they had heard much about but never visited. Half of Afghanistan’s 5 million returnees since 2002 were born in exile, mostly in Iran or Pakistan, which together still shelter 2.5 million Afghans.
Hasanat, Aisha and Safia all face further challenges in a country that remains volatile and poverty stricken, and their stories reflect the vulnerability of childhood in the region as well as the resilience of young returnees. Hasanat tells a harrowing tale of return; the stories of Aisha and Safia highlight some of the human rights problems children face.
read more »
Vienna/Kabul, November 2014 — Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose seven per cent from 209,000 hectares in 2013 to 224,000 hectares, according to the 2014 Afghanistan Opium Survey released in Vienna and Kabul by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Meanwhile, opium production may potentially increase 17 per cent, with yields estimated to reach 6,400 tons in 2014 compared to the previous year’s total of 5,500 tons.
**Anti-poppy propaganda poster. An approximate translation of the text is “Poppies are the crop of death. Grow wheat instead so children can eat and live” | Author: Todd Huffman | Source: originally posted to Flickr as No Poppies | Wikimedia Commons.
The Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, said that Afghanistan’s narcotics problem remained a global challenge and shared responsibility “We cannot afford to see the long-term stability of Afghanistan – and the wider region – derailed by the threat of opiates. What is needed is greater resolve towards addressing narcotics in a serious and tangible manner within the economic, development and security agendas.”
Afghanistan produces some 90 per cent of the world’s illicit opiates. These increases come after record highs were noted in 2013, when cultivation rose 36 per cent and production by almost a half since 2012.
read more »