Over the years, sanctions have been imposed on many nations deemed to be in violation of international law.

But such embargoes have spawned a multi-million dollar trafficking industry that moves money as well as contraband goods into countries under sanctions.

Both Iran and North Korea have managed to build their nuclear programmes despite international embargoes because of access to critical nuclear components in the black market.

The impact of UN arms sanctions on Somalia and Sudan has been largely neutralised by a thriving illegal weapons industry.

Other nations have also tapped into this vast underground enterprise that observers say stretches from Swiss banks through Russian arms dealers to busy ports in the Gulf where most of the banned shipments travel undetected.


Send us your views and get your voice on the air

On Wednesday's Riz Khan show we ask: How powerful is the global sanctions-busting industry and to what extent is it reshaping world politics?

Joining the show will be Dr Moisés Naím, the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine and author of the book Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy.

We will also be joined by Raymond Barrett, a journalist and author who lived in the Middle East for many years. His recently-released book is called Dubai Dreams: Inside the Kingdom of Bling.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera