Buyers at DSEi
Over 25,000 visitors attended DSEi 2009, with "top level international delegations", "senior visitors" and "military influencers" arriving from all over the world. The event was an unregulatable arms dealing extravaganza.
This year DSEi promised "More visitors from more countries - and more for them to see" (DSEi 2011 Preview, 13mb)
There is little or no information available on the vast majority of these thousands of visitors, however, the list of countries invited to send "official defence delegations" to DSEi exhibitions provides at least a partial picture as well as a statement of intent by the UK Government.
Delegations invited to DSEi 2011
The official delegation invitation list for DSEi 2011 has finally been provided, long after an earlier incomplete and misleading release.
63 countries have been invited
14 invitees are "authoritarian regimes"
(as identified by the Economist Intelligence Unit)
These are Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Vietnam
Despite the ongoing Arab Spring and the lessons that should have been learnt by the UK Government, Libya is the only country in the region that was invited two years ago and has not been invited this time.
5 invitees have been
identified by the UK Foreign Office as
countries with "the most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns".
These are Colombia, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
8 invitees were in a "major armed conflict" in 2010 (as
identified by SIPRI).
These are Colombia, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Turkey and the USA.
Misleading parliament and the public
In June the Government's answer to a parliamentary question stated that 37 countries "have been invited to send official government defence and security delegations to Defence and Security Equipment International 2011", and listed those countries. No further details were provided until today's (12 September) list of 63 countries.
The countries on the new list that are missing from the June answer are striking:
Algeria, Angola, Bahamas, Bahrain, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt,
Georgia, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam.
See CAAT's DSEi delegations webpage for more on the DSEi 2011 invitation list, and also invitation lists for previous DSEi arms fairs.
For further comment on the missing DSEi 2011 invitation list, see CAAT's 9 September 2011 media release.