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» 07/30/2012
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
08/29/2012 SAUDI ARABIA - UNITED STATES
Saudi Arabia, a weapons manufacturer's best friend
04/24/2006 CHINA – UNITED STATES – SAUDI ARABIA – AFRICA
Hu in Saudi Arabia and Africa to talk oil
09/07/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
A catacomb Church? Perhaps, but one that is alive and well . . . and universal
by Giuseppe Caffulli
06/22/2010 UNITED STATES – IRAN
US military pressure increasing in the Persian Gulf
by Maurizio d'Orlando
03/07/2008 PERSIAN GULF
Gulf States oil policies ignore Western interests

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
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Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
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Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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