Kleinwaffen in "alten" und "neuen" Kriegen
In the last decades the problem of the arms race has mostly been equated with the production and proliferation of weapons such as tanks, missiles or airplanes. However, recently there is growing evidence that small arms like machine guns, rifles, revolvers or hand grenades are worldwide the weapons responsible for most of the deaths in armed conflicts. Often, this is seen in connection with the phenomenon of the emergence of „new" intrastate wars characterized by privatisation and failing states. Looking back on the role of small arms in different types of war, it is argued that already in the past especially these arms have been used in situations beyond the „classical" wars. Presently, there importance derives from the global flood of small arms which is caused by government decisions in the past as well as by the purchasing power of the new warlords. The latter rely on powerful states involved in legal and illicit arms transfers as well as prornoting informal economies.