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

Merkel under fire over Mideast arms sales
by Staff Writers
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (UPI) Mar 8, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is under fire again over lifting longtime restrictions of arms exports to the Middle East after figures show weapon sales to the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf more than doubled in 2012.

Statistics compiled by Germany's Economics Ministry show that military exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain -- went up to $1.22 billion from $752.6 million a year earlier.

Military equipment was also sold to Algeria, with more deals being negotiated.

German opposition parties have angrily criticized the conservative-led coalition government's easing of restrictions because of concerns these weapons could be used by the absolute monarchies in the gulf to crush dissent amid the pro-democracy uprisings sweeping the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia, the world's leading exporter and the largest of the Sunni Muslim monarchies, is particularly concerned about growing protests by the restive Shiite minority in the kingdom's main oil producing region.

Over the last two years, Bahrain crushed a largely Shiite protest movement with the help of Saudi security forces; the United Arab Emirates has 94 alleged activists on trial on charges of plotting against the state; and Kuwait is grappling with protesters seeking to limit royal powers.

"The worst human rights violations are apparently no longer a reason to deny the approval of arms exports," said Jan van Aken, defense spokesman for the German opposition Left Party.

In large part, Germany's self-imposed ban on armed sales to regions in conflict, like the Middle East, or to autocratic regimes with poor human rights records was a relic of Germany's Nazi past and horrors of World War II.

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

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

Germany's 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 German policy occurred June 27, 2011, when Merkel and Germany's Federal Security Council, which meets in secret, approved the sale to Riyadh of 200 Leopard 2A7+, Germany's most advanced tank built by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

This was at the height of the so-called Arab Spring that toppled dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya.

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 Bahrain.

Since then, the number of Leopards Riyadh wants has risen to 600 and the Germans are trying to sell the Saudis several hundred Boxer armored personnel carrier, also manufactured by Rheinmetall-KMG.

On top of that, Berlin's reported to be planning to sell Egypt two Type-209 subs, a deal worth at least $1.5 billion if it goes through. The subs are built by Howaldswerke-Deutsche Werft AG of Kiel.

That sale would give Egypt's navy a major boost but the German negotiations have angered Israel, which has bought three Dolphin class Type-209 subs and is acquiring three more advanced variants.

Meantime, Egypt's gripped again by political protests against the new president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood who's showing dictatorial tendencies.

That's 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 APCs 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.


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

Australia's bloated defense contracts
Melbourne (UPI) Mar 8, 2013
Projected Australian defense budget constraints are affecting military acquisition programs. Given that many of the Australian Department of Defense purchases will come from U.S. companies, Australia's Defense Material Organization is seeking professional assistance in how to navigate the labyrinth of the U.S. military acquisitions system. The DMO management is soliciting Austral ... read more

China to use modified rocket for moon landing mission

Water On The Moon: It's Been There All Along

Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Neptec wins contract to develop cameras for European Space Agency's ExoMars Programme

Mars rover 'sleeping' through solar storm

Curiosity Rover's Recovery on Track

NASA's Curiosity rover to be back online next week

Basketball legend Shaq talks tech at SXSW

UK and Kazakhstan agree collaboration in space

Wyle To Provide NASA Ongoing Support For Human Space Flight

Japan, US hold space cooperation talks

China's fourth space launch center to be in use in two years

China to launch new manned spacecraft

Woman expected again to join next China crew roster

China's space station will be energy-efficient

'Goody Bag' Filled With Sample Processing Supplies Arrives on Station

ESA's Columbus Biolab Facility

SpaceX set for third mission to space station

Record Number of Students Control ISS Camera

Vega launcher integration continues for its April mission

SpaceX's capsule arrives at ISS

Dragon Transporting Two ISS Experiments For AMES

SpaceX Optimistic Despite Dragon Capsule Mishap

The Birth of a Giant Planet?

Scientists spot birth of giant planet

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Tiny Planet System

Kepler helps astronomers find tiny exo planet

Activists fault WHO report on Fukushima radiation

SimCity climbing from launch wreckage

INRS overcomes a hurdle in the development of terahertz lasers

SSBV And zero2infinity Team Up For Airdrop Recovery

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