The Business of Arms: Understanding the Illicit Arms Trade

Offering a concise, yet thorough, introduction to the illicit arms trade, the main theme of this significant volume confronts the complex reality that while it is proper to think of two separate trades in arms, legal and illegal, in practice there is a considerable overlap between the two. Although this overlap is sometimes distinguished by referring to 'black' (wholly illegal) and 'grey' (semi-legal) markets, this book situates all of these transactions along a continuum under the banner of the 'illicit arms trade'. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, Mark Phythian argues that the lessons of the most important and extensive cases of the last fifteen to twenty years suggest that a significant element of the illicit trade in arms has in fact been sanctioned at some level of government, in the pursuit of broader security or geopolitical ends.