Procurement: December 3, 2003


Belarus, long suspected as being the source of much of the post Cold War gun running (the illegal arms trade), has admitted that it has made major weapons sales to countries like Iran, Sudan, Ivory Coast and Algeria. The Belarus economy has been run into the ground by the former communist bureaucrats who have been running the place since the Soviet Union collapsed (and Belarus was created out of the wreckage) in 1991. However, when the Soviet Union was dismantled, it was agreed that any weapons would be left where they were, and belong to whichever new nation controlled that territory. This was a bonanza for Belarus, which was the location of most of the Soviet Unions armed forces to be used in any war with NATO. Tens of thousands of the Soviet Unions most modern tanks (and other armored vehicles), artillery, missiles and all manner of military equipment were suddenly the property of Belarus. As a result, legal, and illegal, sales of these weapons has been a major source of income for the cash strapped government. Belarus has denied selling weapons to embargoed nations, like Iraq and rebel groups in many countries. Technically, this may be true, as Belarus "sold" (on consignment, it is rumored) many weapons to private arms traders, who then sold to anyone with cash and then paid off the Belarus government. Aircraft and ships from Belarus have been caught moving arms to illegal customers, but the government continues to plead innocent. 




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