Germany’s “Third-Party” Exports Boom, May Face Future Restrictions
- Germany’s Ministry of Economy and Energy published its 2013 report [PDF in German] on armament sales, which at â‚¬5.8B ($7.9B) were slightly above their 2008 record. The foreword by minister Sigmar Gabriel gave more prominence to his recent statements that there’s more to arms sales than total revenue. As the WSJ notes, exports to non EU/NATO countries reached their highest level ever. There is significant opposition in German public opinion against sales to unsavory regimes, especially within Gabriel’s SPD party. The right-left coalition now in power pledged to increase transparency on export licenses, for years a subject of contention with parliamentarians.
Al-Qaeda and Consorts
- From the aptly-named Long War Journal: ISIS takes control of Bayji, Tikrit in lightning southward advance. Meanwhile Kurds seized Kirkuk, giving the impression that Iraq is disintegrating.
- ISIS may have been kicked out of the Al Qaeda franchised brand earlier this year, but they may be making up for that with the seizure of heavy weaponry abandoned by Iraqi soldiers.
- At this rate the Iraqi Order of Battle, up-to-date as of May 2014, may see a lot of revisions by July.
- Sabotage of power lines led to power cuts then sweeping cabinet changes in Yemen, just days after the defense ministry made bold claims about its fight against AQAP. The government usually blames local tribes for attacks on power lines, explains freelance journalist Adam Baron who was recently evicted from the country.
- From the Telegraph: Al-Qaeda map – Isis, Boko Haram and other affiliates’ strongholds across Africa and Asia.
Airbus Wins and Losses
- Airbus delivered the 1st of 3 C295 medium transport aircraft to Ecuador, on top of 17 aircraft ordered by Brazil, the Philippines, Vietnam, an unnamed north African country (Morocco or Algeria?). This week the company also announced a $16B A350 cancellation from Emirates Airline, which is less than 2% of their total backlog, but is still a significant setback for that aircraft and a cautionary reminder that an order book should not be confused with money in the bank.
Tracking Down Chinese Cyber Spies
- Crowdstrike, a California-based security firm, recently released a report about “a cyber espionage actor that conducts operations from Shanghai, China, likely on behalf of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) […] conducting intelligence-gathering operations targeting the Government, Defense, Research, and Technology sectors in the United States, with specific targeting of space, aerospace, and communications.” Last year a similar report from Mandiant already traced suspicious activities right back to PLA buildings and organizations.
- Meanwhile the French Ministry of Defense last month reportedly made a deal with IBM for critical IT infrastructure, but some are worried this might be a backdoor for allegedly spyware-infected Lenovo servers. Le Canard Enchainé / Le Monde [in French].
Canada’s Shrinking Spending
- Canada’s defense spending was down to 1% of GDP in 2013, following cuts so significant that spending is back to 2005 spending levels (in absolute terms) under the previous Liberal Party government. This translates into the purchase of fewer parts for armored vehicles, raising readiness concerns.
- Today’s video shows Parrot’s Rolling Spider smartphone-controlled throwable mini drone, which the Paris-based company says will be available at a $99 retail price in August: