Why Is Jordan Selling Arms to the Sanctioned Myanmar Military?

Published December 15th, 2020 - 09:58 GMT
Why Is Jordan Selling Arms to the Sanctioned Myanmar Military?
Jordan seems to be supporting efforts of the military in Myanmar to acquire European manufactured aircrafts. (Al Bawaba)

A report published lately by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project has revealed a Jordanian role in supporting efforts of the military in Myanmar to acquire European-manufactured aircrafts, in an attempt to circumvent international sanctions on the Tatmadaw.

Translation: "Leaked documents reveal that the Jordanian Air Force is selling two $38 million worth Airbus CASA C295 aircrafts to Myanmar. This deal follows international sanctions on Myanmar in light of crimes and violations against the Muslim Rohingya population."

The report cites a number of leaked documents connected to Myanmar's annual budget, which highlights a proposed sale of two Airbus s CASA C295 aircrafts worth $38.6 million from the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

According to the investigation conducted by OCCRP's Jared Ferrie and Timothy McLaughlin, Myanmar has been trying to "stock up" military equipment and software despite an international arms embargo, imposed on it for decades in response to the tight grip of the military on the country.

Following the 2016 military crackdown on millions of the Rohingya Muslim-majority ethnic group, which was described by UN reports as ones with "genocidal intents," sanctions on the military, also known as the Tatmadaw, has been hardened, especially by the European Union.

The writers of the report suggest that such sanctions have inspired a number of 'unconventional' processes to facilitate arms sales, including making secret purchases through front companies owned by double-nationals, in addition to "buying them through intermediariesو" such as the Jordanian army, especially that Jordan is not amongst the countries who have to abide by European sanctions. The reporters have successfully contacted sources in the Royal Jordanian Air Force who confirmed the news of an approaching sale of the two aircrafts.

Translation: "By selling military equipment to Myanmar, Jordan has not violated the law. Only European companies abide by this embargo. But this is a moral violation, as the Rohingya people face persecution at the hands of Myanmar's dictatorship regime."

However, the OCCRP's report questioned the arms sale by or through Jordan, particularly as the Queen of Jordan had previously denounced the lack of an international stance against human rights violations reported against the Rohingya population.

Moreover, the report highlights similar attempts of the Tatmadaw to acquire German and French made software and communication systems.

Last year, Jordan was also accused along with other Middle Eastern countries of selling arms to one of Libya's fighting armies, in a violation of the UN arms embargo that aims to deescalate tensions in the country. 

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