Licenses Revoked!: The United Kingdom Blocks Exports to Egypt


Great Britain has announced that it will be revoking the export licenses for the “equipment used by Egypt’s military and police amid concerns it could be used against protestors.” The licenses at issue are in regards to cover components for armored personal carriers and machine guns, in addition to radio and communications equipment. In a statement, business secretary Vince Cable stated, “we are deeply concerned about the situation in Egypt and the events which have led to the deaths of protestors…the government takes its export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world.” Although, Britain has not received any reports that their equipment has actually been used during this Egyptian unrest, they nonetheless decided to revoke five licenses.

Reports via British parliament’s committees on arms exports controls raised questions about the 134 licenses currently approved to Egypt worth over 59 million dollars. Other licenses still approved include “body armor, military helmets, pistols, ‘acoustic devices for riot control’, assault rifles, sniper rifles, weapon sights and combat shotguns.”

The licenses for exports of controlled goods have been looked at on an individual case by case basis and due to the current situation in Egypt and a review of the UK export licenses Britain decided to change their policy. When new information becomes available, Cable said that “we can revoke extant licenses where the proposed export is no longer consistent with the criteria.”

With this in mind, please consider the following questions:

(1)  How do you view Britain’s announcement and move to revoke the export licenses for the equipment used by Egypt’s military and police?

(2)  Do you think this is the correct move?

(3)  Britain revoked 5 licenses, but as mentioned above there are still 134 licenses currently approved which were not revoked. These include body armor, helmets, rifles, etc. Do you have a problem with the fact that licenses for these items was not revoked. Further, do you think that they should be revoked in addition to the licenses dealing with armored personal carriers and machine guns among other goods.


Picture/News Source: Fox News


One comment

  1. I think Britain has the right idea but that it was poorly executed. Britain had the right idea in that it has made a statement to Egypt and the international community at large; that statement is that Britain will not support oppression, brutality and the murder of innocent civilians. However, I feel what Britain did was a hollow gesture because it appears Britain is still supplying Egypt with all of the tools necessary to remain oppressive, brutal and to kill innocent civilians.

    Yet, I at least think I understand why Britain has not pulled the other 134 export licenses. I think their reasoning is because those other licenses come with a pretty big price tag and that while Britain may oppose what is happening to the citizens of Egypt, Britain has to worry about its own people and making sure that they keep their bottom line in the black. So while I do think what Britain did was a good move, I don’t know if it is the “correct” move, I think they should make Egypt feel the hurt a little more and revoke a few more licenses while not completely eliminating their economic gains.

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