Saturday, April 19, 2008

About Bout - II

Yulia Latynina has some caustic commentary on the Kremlin's support for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout,who is currently is being held in Thailand on suspicion of plotting to sell Russian-made Igla shoulder-fired missiles to Colombian drug cartels:
Bout was poised to sell a mere 100 of these missiles to drug barons, who had been planning to use them to shoot down U.S. helicopters foolish enough to fly over their plantations.

To his credit, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement on Friday that the country would take all necessary measures to ensure that Bout's rights are not violated.

Bout was arrested on March 6 -- more than a month ago -- but Moscow's offer to help the international arms dealer came last week. In the age of instantaneous communications, such a slow response could only mean that some other method was used to establish a connection with authorities -- money, for example. When the problem of a Russian citizen arrested abroad can be resolved by a phone call, the result is seen right away. But when these issues are decided with cash payments, this is a more complicated process. Negotiations are delicate, and you have to work out how the money will be transferred. All of this takes a lot of time.

And the juiciest part of the Foreign Ministry's statement is that Russia has no plans to press charges against Bout. The power ministries have to account for all Igla missiles in their stock, and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has a strict monopoly on the the trade of Igla and similar weaponry. This system of tight control was instituted to prevent black market sales to terrorists.
See also: About Bout
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