Germany’s Latest Contribution To The Arab Spring

These must be special Panzer for Peace or something, these 200 ultra-modern Leopard battle tanks Germany is now prepared to supply to Saudi Arabia.

This is a dramatic reversal of Germany’s decade-long policy of not furnishing that zany authoritarian kingdom with heavy weapons and is clearly designed to send a strong message to freedom-loving Arab protesters everywhere (the Saudi military recently helped put down protests in Bahrain, if you recall).

Whether that is the right message or not, that’s another question.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the main buyers of German weapons systems in the years 2006 through 2010 were:

    Greece (with a share of 15 percent)

    South Africa (11 percent)

    Turkey (10 percent)

    South Korea (nine percent)

    Malaysia (seven percent)

SIPRI said that Germany advanced from fifth to third place among the biggest arms sellers between 1998 and 2009, even though a previous center-left government pledged in 2000 to pursue a “restrictive'” policy on exporting defense technology.

One response

  1. The Greek purchase, I suspect are the two vessels whose sale was forced on the Greek government as a bailout condition.

    I wonder where the other 48% went.

    The global context shows that the rise of arms imports involves countries in crisis regions. Target areas are primarily the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, regions that are currently characterised by increased social tensions. Arms imports to Latin America have grown by 150 percent. The statistics include heavy military equipment in particular; side arms and ammunition were not included.

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