Editorial

And the bombs continue to drop... As I write Gaza is again being bombarded by Israel, intensifying even more the human rights violations of Palestinians. There have also been limited rockets heading in the other direction.

Israel is the fifth largest arms exporter in the world. Israel has received more US military aid than any other country. European Union countries crucially fund and support joint military-related research, and the Global South (most importantly India, Brazil, and Colombia) buy the majority of Israeli-produced weapons.

As reported in this newsletter, in 2011 the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee in Palestine, has launched a call for a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo on Israel. There has been some limited success in this campaign, pushing the United Kingdom to revoke some licences for weapons exports to Israel. Norway has banned Germany from testing submarines destined for the Israeli Navy in its waters. In Belgium, ministers initially welcomed a ban on arms exports to Israel, while Ireland cancelled a $10 million deal with Israeli Military Industries for bullets. These are just very small steps in the global BDS campaign to put pressure on Israel to stop the occupation of Palestine.

At the same time the military conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) intensifies, with reports of the March 23 rebel group (M23) taking the city of Goma. M23 was formed in April 2012 and is led by Bosco Ntaganda, a commander in the former rebel group CNDP who in 2009 led his faction into the DRC regular army. Earlier this year Ntaganda turned against DRC's president Kabila. It is alleged that M23 is funded and armed by Rwanda and Uganda, which is why - as I write - Kabila is negotiating with their presidents in Uganda. In the words of the DRC government spokesperson "We're no longer going to respond to these people [M23] who work for someone else... We're negotiating with those who they work for … Even if Rwanda takes Kinshasa, we'll continue to fight".

The main motive behind Rwanda's and Uganda's support of the M23 is the control of resources in the mineral rich Kivu region of DRC, most importantly coltan the mineral used in mobile phones and similar technology.

These are just two of the most dramatic examples of protracted military conflicts. Whenever a bomb is dropped or a bullet shot, someone is "making a killing" from it - these are war profiteers!

Two of the biggest war profiteers in the world are the European military manufacturers EADS and BAE Systems. These two companies tried to merge to form the world biggest arms company. As our friends at the Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade wrote "The merger between EADS and BAE Systems (BAES) would have helped the European arms industry to survive the economic crisis and American competition. But Angela Merkel feared loss of German jobs with elections coming up in 2013. The merger negotiations gave an insight in the complex relation between economical, political and strategical interests". You can read their full analysis about this failed agreement from this link.

To conclude, I want to draw your attention to the situation in Paraguay - which is the opening story in this newsletter. In June there was a parliamentary coup in Paraguay which very quickly dropped from the news agendas. See WRI Statement. The coup continues in place with now everything focusing in the upcoming April elections. As you will read in this newsletter, behind the coup - as usual - there was a multinational pulling the strings - none other than Monsanto! In War Profiteer of the Month, we mention a number of Monsanto's corporate crimes - but it is impossible to list them all, even though this is the second time we have featured Monsanto as War Profiteer of the Month. The good news, however, is that if Monsanto is a many headed monster, the movement against the corporation is also taking many forms with new initiatives in the last year such as Millions against Monsanto and Occupy Monsanto.

Javier Gárate