Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

German MPs oppose arms sales to Saudis
by Staff Writers
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (UPI) Dec 17, 2012

German lawmakers are demanding a say in arms sales abroad as Berlin seeks to sell 600 Leopard 2 tanks worth $12.6 billion and hundreds of armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a monarchy many Germans consider undemocratic with a poor human rights record.

Both systems are built under a joint venture between Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, two of Germany's leading defense companies.

The decision-making process involved in exporting these platforms, both modified for urban operations and combating uprisings, is conducted by the government behind closed doors.

That includes recent go-aheads on building three advanced attack Dolphin class submarines for Israel. These boats, modeled on Germany's Type 209 sub and built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG of Kiel, are capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles.

Critics say the subs, which will join three Dolphin class boats already serving with the Israeli navy, will escalate the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Now, with Berlin lining up one big-ticket arms deal after another with Arab states, the government's facing increasing opposition to its dramatic relaxation of long-tight defense export regulations that prohibited arms sales to conflict zones or to regimes considered too autocratic.

In large part, that self-imposed ban was a relic of Germany's Nazi past and horrors of World War II.

But, because of the Holocaust, successive German governments have been key arms suppliers to Israel to ensure its security.

One of the reasons the coalition government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, like its immediate predecessor, has moved toward a more aggressive arms sales policy is because of Europe's economic woes.

Germany defense industry, one of the world's largest, has been hard hit by massive cuts in military spending that have made them increasingly dependent on export sales.

The seminal shift in Germany's foreign policy occurred June 27, 2011, when Merkel and Germany's Federal Security Council, which meets in secret, approved the sale of 200 Leopard 2A7+, Germany's most advanced tank, to Riyadh.

The so-called Arab Spring, the wave of pro-democracy uprisings in Arab states against longtime dictators, was 5 months old. The presidents of Tunisia and Egypt had been toppled. In Egypt, hundreds of protesters were killed. In the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, neighboring Saudi Arabia sent in tanks and troops to help the royal family crush its opposition.

Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, reported that was the first time Berlin decided to supply "heavy arms to an Arab government that has declared its intentions to fight to fight its opponents 'with an iron fist,' a country that deployed tanks against demonstrators in a neighboring country."

Former Defense Minister Volker Ruhe of the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel's own conservative party, declared that "this arms deal must be stopped."

Since then, the number of Leopards Riyadh wants has risen to 600. On top of that and the Boxer APC deal in the works, Berlin is reported to be planning to sell Egypt two Type-209 submarines, a deal worth at least $1.5 billion if it goes through.

Meantime, Egypt's gripped again by political upheaval after the new president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, sought to seize absolute power this month. That's raised the specter of an Islamist dictatorship in Cairo, and fueled German opposition to Merkel's arms export strategy.

The proposed Boxer sale has run into trouble because the vehicles are being sought by Saudi Arabia's National Guard, whose primary mission is protecting the ruling House of Saud.

"There is the possibility of German armored vehicles being used against the masses," Der Spiegel observed.

Merkel's coalition is also negotiating with Algeria, North Africa's military heavyweight. Rheinmetall wants to produce up to 1,200 Fuchs armored personnel carriers in Algeria.

Berlin has also underwritten a $2.8 billion deal with Algiers for two warships. The gulf emirate of Qatar is mulling the purchase of 200 Leopards for $2.5 billion. In Asia, Indonesia wants to buy 100 Leopards under a $287 million deal.

"Growing numbers of lawmakers are asking themselves why they are not involved in important debates and decisions on security policy," it observed.

Even members of Merkel's coalition are angry.

"Citizens have a justified interest in being informed about arms sales," declared Markus Loning, the government's human rights commissioner and a member of Merkel's junior partners, the pro-business Free Democrats.


Related Links
The Military Industrial Complex at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

India probing presence of Swedish arms in Myanmar
Yangon (AFP) Dec 15, 2012
India is investigating how Swedish-made weapons bought by its army turned up in Myanmar, a minister visiting Yangon said Saturday, denying New Delhi had supplied arms in contravention of EU sanctions. Sweden asked India on Thursday to clarify how the weapons wound up in Myanmar after it was revealed the Indian army had purchased them, Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling told the Swedish parliament. ... read more

No plans of sending an Indian on moon

Rocket Burn Sets Stage for Dynamic Moon Duos' Lunar Impact

NASA Gravity Probes Prepare to Hit the Moon

Apollo's Lunar Dust Data Being Restored

Curious About Life: Interview with Darby Dyer

Opportunity Checking Out Some Rocks At Matijevic Hill

Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay

Charitum Montes: a cratered winter wonderland

NASA Progressing Toward First Launch of Orion Spacecraft

New member of the exclusive space club

NASA Awards Commercial Crew Certification Contracts

China patent office becomes world's largest: WIPO

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

Medical Ops, Fan Checks for Space Crew; New Trio Checks Soyuz

Khrunichev Completes Nauka Space Station Module

New Crew of ISS to Perform Two Spacewalks

Space Station to reposition for science

Arctic town eyes future as Europe's gateway to space

ISRO planning 10 space missions in 2013

Russia works to fix satellite's off-target orbit

ULA Launch Monopoly to End

Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

Search for Life Suggests Solar Systems More Habitable than Ours

Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

Building better structural materials

Most US publications have mobile presence: industry

SciTechTalk: Technology of 'The Hobbit'

X-ray Laser Takes Aim at Cosmic Mystery

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement