ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Little Merchants of War-Land Mines as Sentinels of Death

Land Mines as Sentinels of Death Vinay Lal IF the cold war has ended, humankind has nonetheless not been rid of the scourge of war. In the five years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the shorter time since the demise of the USSR, the traffic in arms and ammunition has shown no signs of diminishing; if anything, the aftermath of the Gulf war provided American companies with new defence contracts worth billions of dollars, and military expenditure in the entire west Asia saw a spectacular increase. Even as George Bush announced a new initiative for bringing peace to west Asia and placing limits on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the US, which today commands 57 per cent of the world's arms market, had already negotiated massive new contracts for arms transfers.' Far from abating, regional conflicts show signs of having escalated, and new conflicts have arisen in other areas, such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, and many parts of the former Soviet Union. The withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan did nothing to bring an end to the conflict in that region, while the ambivalence of western powers has allowed Bosnia to become the world's most unforgiving battlefield. All these conflicts, however, retain a visibility even when they do not command the attention of the world, and even the bitter civil war over Kabul, for which western powers seek to take no responsibility, has not entirely vanished from the horizon of our conscience.

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