U.S. Navy Seizes Weapons in Gulf of Aden. Photo: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Public Affairs | Public Domain (The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement).

Arms Transfers in the Gulf of Aden. Shining the Spotlight on Regional Dynamics

Since the outbreak of the war in Yemen in 2015, the state has seen a growing influx in the supply of weapons. These weapons are both legally and illegally provided by regional and international powers to all major factions of the conflict. While arms transfers and their effects on the conflict in Yemen have received considerable attention, a lesser known fact is that weapons are increasingly circulating between Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti – the three states adjoining the Gulf of Aden. Against this background, this text shines the spotlight on weapons flows dynamics in a highly militarized region.


Der New START Vertrag begrenzt die Zahl der Trägersysteme für strategische Nuklearwaffen. | Photo: flickr, Eric Constantineau | CC BY-NC 2.0

Bloß Neustart oder Renaissance nuklearer Abrüstung? New START um fünf Jahre verlängert

Die Verlängerung von New START ist gesichert. Damit ist die seit zwei Jahrzehnten fortschreitende Auflösung zahlreicher Rüstungskontrollabkommen vorerst gestoppt. Es ist noch lange keine Renaissance der nuklearen Abrüstung. Hierzu müssen die Risiken nuklearer Eskalation minimiert und sub-strategische Nuklearwaffen in den Blick genommen werden. Es braucht außerdem die Einbindung Chinas und ein Upgrade der bilateralen Rüstungskontrolle auf die multilaterale Ebene. Wie kann das gelingen?


The New START Treaty limits the number of delivery systems for strategic nuclear weapons. | Photo: flickr, Eric Constantineau | CC BY-NC 2.0

A renaissance of nuclear disarmament, or merely a new start? New START extended for five years

New START will be extended for five more years. This means that the unraveling of numerous arms control agreements, which has been progressing for two decades, has been halted for the time being. We are still far from a renaissance of nuclear disarmament. For this to happen, the risks of nuclear escalation must be minimized and sub-strategic nuclear weapons must be addressed. It also requires engaging China and upgrading bilateral arms control to the multilateral level. How can this succeed?


The ban is here! | Photo: Photo: ICAN | Aude Catimel

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a Winter’s Tale

It is a truly historic event. Today, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) effectively enters into force. A treaty that was not only negotiated against the will of some of the world’s most powerful states, but also explicitly challenges deeply entrenched power structures. Whether and how the treaty can be effective depends on how its supporters and opponents approach the treaty and each other. The strategy of ignoring the treaty, as practiced by Germany and other NATO states, will certainly no longer be possible once the treaty takes effect.


The ban is here! | Photo: Photo: ICAN | Aude Catimel

Der Atomwaffenverbotsvertrag – ein Wintermärchen

Es ist ein wahrhaft historisches Ereignis. Heute tritt der Vertrag über das Verbot von Nuklearwaffen (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, kurz TPNW oder Verbotsvertrag) in Kraft. Ein Vertrag, der nicht nur gegen den Willen einiger der mächtigsten Staaten der Welt verhandelt wurde, sondern auch explizit jahrzehntelang gefestigte Machtstrukturen in Frage stellt. Ob und wie der Vertrag seine Wirkung entfalten kann, hängt nun davon ab, wie seine Unterstützer.innen und Gegner.innen mit dem Vertrag und miteinander umgehen. Fest steht: die Strategie, den Vertrag zu ignorieren, wie Deutschland und andere NATO-Staaten es praktizieren, wird mit dem Inkrafttreten des Vertrages nicht länger möglich sein.


Near an occupied military post at rebel-held Ras Lanuf, Libya's largest oil refinery, fighters have left large stockpiles of weaponry such as tank shells and assault rifle and anti-aircraft ammunition. | Photo: flickr, Al Jazeera English | CC BY-SA 2.0

From Legal to Illegal Transfers: Regional Implications of Weapon Flows to Libya

The recent denial of access to a Turkish freighter for German soldiers of the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation IRINI is the latest example of the difficulties arising from the UN-imposed arms embargo in Libya. Since 2011, countries such as Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Russia and France have continued to transfer large quantities of heavy military equipment to the North African State. In particular, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) remain a major problem. Changes in the intensity of the Libyan conflict could lead to a growing spread of arms in the whole region and further complicate the overall security situation at the expense of domestic populations.


The U.S. election 2020 - a new dawn for multilateral arms control? | Photo: Air Force Photo by Giancarlo Casem | Public Domain

A New Hope? The U.S. Election and Prospects for Arms Control

This blogpost briefly reviews the last four years of U.S. policy on international arms control. Despite the particularly aggressive approach that has been pursued by the Trump administration, we see a high degree of continuity in the general neglect of arms control and collective security. This raises questions about how to think of new ways to repair and build up new arms control structures.


Maschine mit Menschenhaut: Arnold Schwarzenegger als Terminator. Foto: 21st Century Fox.

Terminator 1&2 – Sind wir auf dem Weg zum Killerroboter?

Außer spektakulären Verfolgungsjagden passiert in den Terminator-Klassikern (1984/1991, Regie: James Cameron) zwar nicht viel, aber zumindest in der Rahmenhandlung steckt eine fantasievolle Dystopie: Nach einem Atomkrieg ist die Menschheit im Jahr 2029 annähernd ausgelöscht und wird von Kriegsmaschinen unter Kontrolle des Maschinensystems Skynet regiert. Als eine kleine Rebellengruppe gegen die Maschinen aufbegehrt, schicken diese einen Terminator (eine als Mensch getarnte Maschine) in die Vergangenheit. Der soll die Mutter des Rebellenführers vor dessen Geburt töten und dadurch die Geschichte umschreiben. Ob das wissenschaftlich ganz korrekt abläuft, verrät Anna-Katharina Ferl.


Curse or blessing? This year’s UN debate on LAWS mostly took place virtually. | Photo: flickr, (c) Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, August 2018.

Digital diplomacy: The debate on lethal autonomous weapons systems in Geneva continues under unprecedented circumstances

Despite the global Covid-19 pandemic, the debate on lethal autonomous weapons systems within the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) at the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva, which has been going on since 2014, took place last week. With only a handful of diplomats present, the meeting was held in a hybrid format. While the pandemic and its restrictions might have been a factor that hampered progress in the debate, it went along better than many had expected. However, there were hardly any new arguments in the debate and the prospects of a regulation of LAWS did not really increase. Now is the time to make sure the deliberations build more substance because it should be in every state’s interest to avoid a technological arms race.


The Büchel airbase is the only location in Germany where US nuclear weapons are stored | Photo: Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Cling Together, Swing Together? Arguments for Withdrawing from Nuclear Sharing

Plans to procure a replacement for the Tornado fighter jet have sparked a long-overdue debate about NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements and the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany. The weapons cannot really be deployed for military purposes and they are ill-suited to hold the crumbling Alliance together. In fact, in times of smoldering hegemonial conflicts, they are a potential target in the event of nuclear escalation. Thus, in its own security interests and to augment its room for maneuver when it comes to foreign and security policy in the tradition of non-proliferation, Germany should pull out of the nuclear sharing program.