Germany Greenlights Some Arms Shipments to Saudi Arabia after French Discontent
A recent extension of the German ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia excluded weapons developed jointly with Germany’s infuriated partners.
Germany’s government has approved certain arms shipments to countries such as Saudi Arabia after its existing ban on weapons exports to the Arab county infuriated France and other of its close European allies.
In March, the German authorities extended their temporary ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which was imposed over last year’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The ongoing civil war in Yemen, in which a coalition led by Saudi Arabia is fighting local forces supported by Iran to disastrous humanitarian results has also been deemed highly disturbing in Germany.
France, however, has made clear its indignation over the German ban, most ostensibly in a recent op-ed by the French Ambassador in Berlin, as it effectively blocks joint arms exports project.
Especially notable is Saudi Arabia’s order for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets worth EUR 11.65 billion (USD 13.18 billion, GBP 10 billion), which is led by Britain’s BAE Systems but a third of the components involved are supposed to come from German producers.
Germany’s secret security council has allowed some weapons shipments to members of the war coalition in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, DW reported, citing reports in a number of German media.
The council consists of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her chief ministers, and its decision to unblock some arms shipments comes just two weeks after the Merkel government decided to extend its own ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Under the arms sales ban extension, however, an exception was stipulated for weapons systems developed together with other countries. In addition to France, the UK has also made known its discontent with the German ban.
Thus, Germany’s security council approved a shipment of “technology for low-bed semi-trailer production” from the Ulm-based company Kamag to France, which will then send a finished product to Saudi Arabia.
Another export deal approved includes German-French-produced accessories for “Cobra” artillery tracking radar systems that will go to the UAE.
In addition, a shipment of three “Dingo” armored vehicles and 168 warheads to Qatar was also approved.
Other shipments, unrelated to Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf states include 92 electric drives for the “Fuchs” armored personnel carrier to Algeria, 18,000 detonators for mortar grenades to Indonesia and 3,000 anti-tank weapons to Singapore.
Germany’s opposition Left Party has been quick to lambast the government over what it sees as an unprincipled decision.
“Apparently things are not going fast enough with new arms deliveries to the Yemen war coalition,” said the Left’s deputy parliamentary leader, Sevim Dagdelen.
“[The approvals of new arms shipments are] simply criminal and a violation of current European law,” she added.
(Banner image: Wikipedia)