Procurement: End Of An Era For Gunrunners

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March 11,2008: Viktor Bout, the most notorious of the post-Cold War gunrunners, has been arrested. In Thailand. He was lured their while working on a deal to sell weapons to South American rebels.

Bout began his career as a fast-track Russian air force officer. But in 1993 he found himself out of a job, as part of the post-Cold War meltdown of the Soviet armed forces. What made Bout so successful over the next decade was his ability to acquire surplus, or simply underutilized, Russian military air transports, and fill them with Cold War surplus weapons, and then deliver the stuff anywhere in the world. Islamic terrorists, African warlords and South American drug gangs were all customers. Bout would take cash, or precious metals and gems, and quickly learned how to park his money in safe places. Although Bout has lots of powerful friends in Russia, he became so notorious that he was forced to take up residence in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Many nations have been after him, including Thailand and the United States. The U.S. wants to prosecute Bout first, and has warned Thailand that Bout has powerful friends, who may take extraordinary measures to get him out of captivity.

 


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