The Common Good
March 2007

Follow the Weapon Trade

by Rose Marie Berger, Jonathan Mendez | March 2007

The U.S. provided nearly half of the conventional weapons sold to developing nations in 2005

The U.S. provided nearly half of the conventional weapons sold to developing nations in 2005, according to the "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations" report that is prepared every eight years for Congress. The U.S. is the only country that has two distinct accounting systems for exporting weapons: government-to-government and commercial. There is no official data on commercial sales, and exporters are not required to report sales contract data to the U.S. Department of State. The following information concerns government-to-government sales:

  • $44.2 billion: The total value of all arms transfer agreements worldwide (to both developed and developing nations) in 2005
  • $30.2 billion: The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2005, the highest annual total since 1998.
  • 35.5 percent: U.S. share of all developing world arms transfer agreements in 2004. It dropped to 20.5 percent in 2005 (possibly due to an increase in U.S. subcontracting of arms sales to private companies).
  • $5.2 billion: The value of Egypt's purchase agreements of U.S. arms from 2002 to 2005. In the same period, Saudi Arabia's purchase agreement totaled $4.2 billion and Israel's $2.5 billion.

Source: "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1998-2005," by the Congressional Research Service.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)