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  • » 07/30/2012, 00.00

    GERMANY - US - MIDEAST

    Berlin and Washington to sell weapons to Mideast nations to boost Mideast stability



    The German government confirms talks are underway to sell tanks to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The US plans to strengthen Kuwait defence with missile and radar systems. Some experts warn this might harm human rights and increase the power of local dictatorships.

    Berlin (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Germany and the United States continue to sell weapons to their allies in the Middle East, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In recent months, the latter have expressed interest in acquiring more arms, including missiles and tanks worth billions of dollars.

    After reports indicated that Qatar wanted to buy 200 Leopard-2 tanks worth 2 billion Euros (US$ 2.5 billion), German government spokesman Georg Streiter today confirmed a statement of interest by the emirate. Last month, Saudi Arabia expressed a similar interest in buying up to 800 Leopard-2 tanks worth 10 billion Euros (US$ 12.5 billion).

    As a result, the German government has come under fire with Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy described as two-faced, pro-peace at UN and NATO summits, and pro-war and arms sales to countries that do not respect human rights and religious freedom.

    The United States is not doing much different. Last week, the US Defence Department, Pentagon announced plans to sell 60 PAC-3 systems, 20 launching stations, four radar systems and control stations. Last year, it reached a 30-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

    German news weekly Der Spiegel said that Chancellor Merket and her government wanted to sell weapons to key countries in the region to maintain stability and avoid outside troop deployments in cases of conflict like those in Iraq and Syria.

    This is part of a broader German strategy to hold back the Iranian threat through strategic alliances with Sunni regimes. However, some wonder what would happen if weapons fell in the wrong hands.

    Markus Kaim, a security expert at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) has doubts about the strategy.

    Selling weapons to totalitarian regimes like that of Saudi Arabia or factions, like those in Syria, could actually increase instability.

    In the 1980s, the US outfitted the Taliban in Afghanistan with modern weapons to resist Soviet invaders, only to find themselves with one of the cruellest Islamic regimes in the world.

    Western powers, including Germany, sold tanks and other heavy weapons to Indonesia, which used them against West Papua rebels.

    The latest example is Saudi Arabia, which sent troops and tanks into neighbouring Bahrain to crush pro-democracy protests.

     

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    See also

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    Washington approves US$ 1.5 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

    The contract includes 130 tanks, other weapons and military assistance. Riyadh vows to fight Islamic State but uses its weapons mostly against its rivals in the region. Only ten Saudi fighters are involved in the anti-Daesh coalition, but one hundred are used in Yemen against Houthi Shias. For French diplomat, through money flows and arms sales the West has created its own enemy.



    29/08/2012 SAUDI ARABIA - UNITED STATES
    Saudi Arabia, a weapons manufacturer's best friend
    In 2011, the United States tripled weapons sales thanks to Saudi purchases. The Middle East remains the best market for weapons sales. Riyadh buys 84 fighter planes and dozens of helicopters. The United Arab Emirates buy a missile defence shield and helicopters. Market is driven by fears of an Iranian attack and support for the Syrian rebellion.

    20/12/2016 17:52:00 YEMEN – SAUDI ARABIA – UNITED KINGDOM
    Saudi Arabia dropped British cluster bombs in Yemen, killing civilians

    The bombs were bought in the 1980s. Since 2010, the international community has banned their sale. For the Saudi authorities, the bombs hit "legitimate military targets to defend Saudi towns and villages”. For the UN, Saudi air strikes are responsible for almost half of all civilian casualties.



    17/11/2015 SAUDI ARABIA - UNITED STATES
    Washington in arms deal with Saudi Arabia for $ 1.29 billion
    The deal is for arms and spare parts. Weapons would include 13 thousand "smart" bombs. Congress has 30 days to approve the agreement, but in all likelihood will give go ahead. Axis between the US and Saudis strengthens, after the tensions over the Iranian nuclear deal. Middle East world’s largest arms market.

    17/08/2017 10:58:00 SAUDI ARABIA - QATAR
    Riyadh opens the border with Qatar to let pilgrims in

    King Salman orders the reopening of the Salwa border area. A gesture of courtesy towards the Muslim population and Muslims, but the deep divisions between the two countries remain. Bahrain accuses Qatar of fomenting the anti-government revolts of the past. It points to contacts between the former Doha premier and the former leader of the internal opposition.





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