New report on securitisation of aid

  • Syria case may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ for fund backing some of world’s worst security forces
  • Secretive Conflict, Stability and Security Fund uses £500m of aid money
  • Government accused of using loophole to fund discredited consultancy

The controversial cross-government fund behind the British aid project in Syria which has today been suspended amid claims that money was reaching jihadist groups should be shut down, according to campaign group Global Justice Now, which has released a new report on the fund.

The report lifts the lid on one of the British government’s most secretive funds, which is behind military and security projects in around 70 countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria. The billion-pound pot, known as the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, spends over £500 million of British aid and is overseen by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister. Neither the public nor MPs are able to properly scrutinise the fund due to a serious lack of transparency, the report finds.
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Corruption in military aid programs

One issue that is ripe for attention is the effect corruption has on military aid programs. Providers of such assistance need to take more care to ensure that their partners are not subverting the purpose of these programs by engaging in corrupt practices.

U.S. military aid programs are a case in point. According to data compiled by the Security Assistance Monitor, this year the United States is providing over $8 billion in arms and training to 50 of the 63 nations that Transparency International has identified as being at “high” or “critical” risk of corruption in their defense sectors. …

Widespread corruption poses other serious challenges to providers of military assistance. There is a danger that tilting aid too heavily toward the defense sector can strengthen it at the expensive of civilian institutions, undermining civilian control of the military. There is a significant risk that this may be occurring among key recipients of U.S. security assistance. The Security Assistance Monitor’sassessment of dependence on U.S. military aid demonstrates that, for 2014, U.S. military aid accounted anywhere from 15% to 20% of defense expenditures of recipient countries like Egypt, Pakistan, and Burundi; over 50% in Liberia; and over 90% in Afghanistan. …

Corruption in defense assistance programs is about more than just a diversion of funds. It is also a threat to local, regional, and global security. Any effort to reduce global corruption must make cleaning up corruption in military aid programs a top priority.

Corruption in Military Aid Undermines Global Security