Small arms are the predominant tools of violence used in contemporary warfare and are responsible for approximately half a million deaths per year. Terrorists, rebel groups, criminals, repressive governments and human rights abusers are all armed with small arms: it seems that anyone, anywhere can acquire vast quantities of arms that sustain conflict, undermine development and devastate human security. Yet the proliferation of these real 'weapons of mass destruction' is poorly understood and in this groundbreaking work on the subject, Mike Bourne argues that, far from operating as an amorphous, globalized, illicit market, the spread of small arms is complexly structured and highly dynamic. Examining the arming of conflicts across the globe, this book uncovers and analyses the construction and interaction of structures and dynamics at the global, regional and conflict level, which shape the arming patterns of both state and non-state actors.

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