Mali, Algeria and the Arms Trade Treaty: A Parable for US Security?

© YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

© YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Could the NRA’s opposition to an arms trade treaty have consequences for US security?

There are many confusing messages coming from the National Rifle Association with regard to the effort to forge a global arms trade treaty. The NRA poo-poos arguments that point to the incredible human suffering the unregulated global arms trade is causing, including the thousands of children who are forced to become soldiers. The NRA also continues to deliberately and falsely claim that the treaty will undermine gun rights in the United States, in spite of the fact that the draft treaty text from the July United Nations conference reiterates that the treaty’s ambit is the arms trade between nations, not within them.

Underpinning the NRA’s view of the treaty and the world is that any effort to restrict small arms and conventional weapons is bad, as it undermines individual security, which can only be safeguarded by arming the “good guys.” If this is the case, then what does the NRA have to say about the recent events that transpired in Algeria and are still unfolding in Mali?


Gaddafi Uses Rape as a Weapon of War?

Protest for Libyan Rape Victim Iman al-Obeidi

Libyan-American women protesting in support of Libyan rape victim Iman al-Obeidi in Washington, DC. ©Getty Images

Amidst reports of hundreds of rapes by Gaddafi forces in Libya, I appeared on Alhurra TV last week to discuss this brutal human rights violation. Watch the clip (in Arabic only) here.

Amnesty International remains concerned about violence against women in the midst of the political turbulence of the Arab Spring uprisings. The use of rape and other forms of sexual violence in Libya as weapons of war are efforts to intimidate, punish, humiliate, and control women and their communities.

These rapes and other forms of sexual violence constitute grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the crime of torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity.