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Czech Weapons in Azerbaijan: How a Chassis Turned into a Howitzer

Czech Weapons in Azerbaijan: How a Chassis Turned into a Howitzer

Two years ago, when the Azerbaijani army showed off their Czech Dana howitzers and Vampire rocket launchers in a promotional video, it attracted extraordinary media attention: the Czech Republic does not officially export military equipment to this country. The arms branch of the Czechoslovak Group immediately rushed to make an official statement that, in accordance...

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War Dog Millionaire: Czech Companies Bought Tens of Millions of Old Ammunition

War Dog Millionaire: Czech Companies Bought Tens of Millions of Old Ammunition

In 2008, an attempt to decommission part of Albania’s aging, deadly stockpile of Cold War-era munitions went horribly wrong. At about noon on March 15, a series of explosions at a facility in the village of Gërdec sent fireballs into the sky, artillery shells into homes, and shockwaves slamming into the nearby capital, Tirana. The...

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War Dog Millionaire: Czech President’s Main Donor on Balkan Arms Shopping Spree

War Dog Millionaire: Czech President’s Main Donor on Balkan Arms Shopping Spree

Czech President Miloš Zeman likes to joke about shooting journalists. The veteran politician, who is running for reelection this week, recently earned international opprobrium when, sporting a faux assault rifle, he figuratively took aimat the press. As it turns out, if Zeman ever wants to make good on his threats, his chief financial backer may have...

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War Dog Millionaire: Strnad’s Balkan Factory Buy-Up

War Dog Millionaire: Strnad’s Balkan Factory Buy-Up

Czech arms tycoon Jaroslav Strnad did not limit his Balkan shopping spree to stockpiled Chinese munitions. The businessman also bought at least two bankrupt, formerly state-owned factories in the former Yugoslavia, both of which are linked to the arms industry. He made the first of those purchases, the Suvenir ammunition factory in the Macedonian village...

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Making a Killing: The Pentagon Is Spending Up To $2.2 Billion on Soviet-Style Arms for Syrian Rebels

Making a Killing: The Pentagon Is Spending Up To $2.2 Billion on Soviet-Style Arms for Syrian Rebels

The Pentagon has relied on an army of contractors and sub-contractors – from blue-chip military giants to firms linked to organized crime – to supply up to US$ 2.2 billion worth of Soviet-style arms and ammunition to Syrian rebels fighting a sprawling war against the Islamic State (ISIS). Arms factories across the Balkans and Eastern...

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Making a Killing: The €1.2 Billion Arms Pipeline to Middle East

Making a Killing: The €1.2 Billion Arms Pipeline to Middle East

As Belgrade slept on the night of Nov. 28, 2015, the giant turbofan engines of a Belarusian Ruby Star Ilyushin II-76 cargo plane roared into life, its hull laden with arms destined for faraway conflicts. Rising from the tarmac of Nikola Tesla airport, the hulking aircraft pierced the Serbian mist to head towards Jeddah, Saudi...

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