Saturday, July 9, 2011

Germany's contribution to the Arab Spring: arms sales

Its failure to support intervention in Libya but willingness to arm Saudi Arabia shows the contradiction in German foreign policy

"This week the German news magazine Der Spiegel revealed that the German government had agreed a €1.5bn deal to sell 200 Leopard 2A7+ tanks to Saudi Arabia. The Leopard 2, manufactured by the Munich-based company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, is among the world's best main battle tanks, but according to the company this model can be used in "operations in urban terrain as well as high intensity operations".

The Saudi deal illustrates the central contradiction in Germany's export-driven foreign policy. While Germany did not want to support military intervention in Libya to prevent a massacre by Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Benghazi, it is perfectly happy to supply arms to Saudi Arabia – which sent troops to Bahrain to help the authorities there put down pro-democracy protests in March. This, it seems, is Germany's contribution to the Arab spring"

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