Book Review: The Shadow World Inside The Global Arms Trade
THE SHADOW WORLD by Andrew Feinstein is the harrowing, behind-the-scenes tale of the global arms trade. Pulling back the curtain on this secretive world, Andrew Feinstein reveals the corruption and the cover-ups behind weapons deals ranging from the largest in history - between the British and Saudi governments - to BAE's controversial transactions in South Africa, Tanzania and eastern Europe, and the revolving-door relationships that characterize the US Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. He exposes in forensic detail both the formal government-to-government trade in arms and the shadow world of illicit weapons dealing - and lays bare the shocking and inextricable links between the two.
The Shadow World is a massive but eminently readable tome with content ranging from a history of the major players in the development of the industry, to a case-by-case study of the role of the trade in Africa – from the vast deals between arms manufacturers and governments, to the impact the trade has in perpetuating and intensifying African conflicts.
The book exposes the filth of corruption in different parts of the world through Western powers particularly Britain. In Tanzania, for instance, the author reveals the dirty deals that surrounded the harrowing purchase of the radar from BAE Systems of Britain. The book reveals how former British PM Tony Blair persuaded former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to buy an old technology radar. This was despite the fact that top officials in the foreign department of Britain were opposed to that move. Clare Short, who at the time of the purchase negotiation, was the Secretary of State for International Development strongly opposed the move cited the economic ineptness of Tanzania to buy the radar. Tanzania at the time had only eight military jets most of which were grounded due to their horrendous old state. Tanzania did not need a military radar system; in any case, it needed a national radar to bolster its tourism sector.
Despite these facts, Tanzania went on to buy £28 million radar system. In a report by The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) cited gross violations in the deal between Tanzania and BAE Systems. The BAE Systems then accused of ICAD of misinterpretation of the deal. The book also exposes the dealings by high ranking Tanzanian government officials in the purchase of the radar. These include among others, former President Mkapa, Andrew Chenge and Idriss Rajab. This is the tale of collusion of grand corruption between Tanzania and Britain.