Bananas, Tanks, Ukraine and Sudan

What do bananas, tanks, Ukraine and Sudan have in common?

Actually nothing, but I attempt to make a case that they should have something in common - binding international treaties.

Anmesty International have just produced a report in which Ukraine is identified as a sinner for supplying at least 75 T72M1 (and many more T54/55’s) battle tanks to Sudan via nefarious routes through Kenya and Uganda, and the usual opaque shell companies normally associated with State companies of Ukraine to siphon off backhanders.

In this case, State owned Ukrinmash and two shell companies involved in the “shipping” of the tanks, UK registered Marine Energy Trading Company LLP and Isle of Man registered Ace Shipping.

The instances, it should be pointed out for the purposes of fairness, occurred between 2007 - 2009 and therefore are not transgressions that can be placed at the current governments door, but of the last one.  It should also be pointed out that Ukraine stopped this trade with Sudan after heavy pressure from the USA behind closed doors, with the Tymoshenko government denying any such trade until confronted with satellite photographs by the US.

Well that takes care of Tanks, Ukraine and Sudan, what about bananas?

Well here is an interesting and yet difficult to believe fact.

There are absolutely no global binding international treaties (yet) on the sale of conventional weapons and small arms (less any UN resolutions which are indeed rare events given the vested and normally opposing interests of the UNSC).  In fact the WTO goes out of its way to exclude such weapons from its scope.

Bananas on the other hand, are subject to 3 globally binding international trading treaties and a strictly adhered to voluntary codex as well.

Here is a list of those existing (or not in the case of small arms and conventional weaponry) international globally binding treaties.

The question then must be asked, where, behind my wife’s friend Svetlana, are all the tanks on the tracks at Odessa docks heading (which was taken only a few days ago)?

Somewhere transparent or another nefarious transaction?  We would certainly know if they were bananas!