Dr Stuart Parkinson, of the Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), critically assesses new UK and Western military initiatives, and how engineers and scientists can be involved in challenging the cycle of violence. Continue reading–>
The situation in Syria is only going to get worse … and here’s why
by Melissa Fleming
I vividly recall my conversations with refugees when the Syria conflict was just one year old. There were still fewer than a million people who had fled for safety to neighboring countries, I made my first visit to Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, where thousands were still trying to maintain a semblance of normality in threadbare campsites.
Many were visibly traumatized. Smiles of welcome quickly faded to frowns of troubled reflection. Eyes turned wet when the conversation deepened. The violence had taken away their homes, and killed or maimed their friends and family. But most were confident that the war would end soon, and that their life in a tent was only temporary. Continue reading–>
Azerbaijan ups military budget amid Armenian provocations
By Mushvig Mehdiyev
Azerbaijan decided to allocate $5 billion to military in 2015 in an effort to improve the combat readiness, as well as the technical equipment and upgrade of its army.
Total amount of the military expenditure shares 17.9 percent of the budget assignments and is the next record figure in Azerbaijan’s history, according to Finance Minister Samir Sharifov. He said Azerbaijan’s sole military budget exceeds the overall state budget of Armenia by $2 billion.
Global military spending trumps global aid
Russia and China are among the nations that are sharply increasing their military spending while contributions to global humanitarian aid decrease.
The possibility of rising U.S. and Russia-China tension, the Ukraine and Syrian crisis, the conflict in Africa particularly in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, the ongoing instability in the Middle East, the conflict between South-North Korea, all can speed up the armament race in the near future while global humanitarian aid slows down.
While the UN in 2013 and 2014 asked for almost $13bn to fund its humanitarian operations for a one year period, global military spending totaled $1.75 trillion in 2013 – 130 times higher than the planned humanitarian aid in 2013 and 2014.
The UN appeal for humanitarian aid for this year, which will be used for 52 million people in 17 countries, was the highest ever but not even close to the global military spending.
While global military spending in 2014 is in uptrend, the development on global humanitarian aid is totally different. The international humanitarian response fell by 8 percent from $19.4 billion in 2011 to $17.9 billion in 2012.
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