ACCESSION NUMBER:258881 FILE ID:EUR313 DATE:12/16/92 TITLE:ILLEGAL WEAPONS FLOWING OUT OF FORMER SOVIET BLOC (12/16/92) TEXT:*EUR313 12/16/92* ILLEGAL WEAPONS FLOWING OUT OF FORMER SOVIET BLOC (A threat to global stability, experts say) (510) By Wendy S. Ross USIA Staff Writer Washington -- Weapons are flowing out of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc at an alarming rate and are a threat to global stability, according to two U.S. experts on illegal arms trafficking. The United States is very concerned about the situation, author Neil Livingstone and retired Army Col. Lawrence Tracy said December 16 on WorldNet, the satellite television service of the U.S. Information Agency. They spoke with participants in Managua and ~Guatemala City. "The former Soviet Union, which is now 15 separate countries, is hemorrhaging arms, not as a matter of government policy, but because things are (economically) so bad in those countries," Livingstone said. The arms are going to all parts of the world, including Latin America, he said. "Commanders, even active duty commanders within the Russian military establishment, are actually selling arms to criminal gangs and to brigands and to terrorists and to revolutionary organizations around the world," he said. The situation may be worse than when the Soviet Union was dominated by the Communists, he said, because "no one is in charge." "There is even a belief" that the arms may include some fissionable weapons...and that perhaps as many as two or three nuclear shells may have gone to Iran already," Livingstone said. 1 The idea of turning weapons into cash is a danger for the whole world, Tracy said, and "could be one of the very negative fallouts of the end of the Cold War." During the Cold War there was an ideological and political purpose for the flow of weapons, he said. "Now it is sheer opportunism." Many weapons are coming from the Eastern bloc, he said, because the manufacturing of weapons was one of the area's principal industries. Members of the former Soviet intelligence community are involved in illegal arms sales, Tracy said, because many of them "are outcasts within their own society today, they cannot find jobs elsewhere." Nuclear technicians and scientists are going to countries that want to build a bomb, while lower-level people, who were engaged in building conventional explosive devices, transmitting those technologies and training, are going out and assisting revolutionary organizations. Especially troubling, Tracy said, is the "nexus" between guerrilla forces in Latin America and the narco-traffickers, who are primarily interested in developing their criminal business activities. "Once those two make a combination of drugs for guns, then you have a very volatile situation," he said. "There is a very, very large pool of weapons," existing in Central America, Tracy added, largely as a residue of the civil wars there in the 1980s. "How these (weapons) are going to be controlled is going to be greatly the responsibility of the Central American countries to get a handle on this and make sure they have control over their armed forces." NNNN .