Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Masters of War

The German government approved nearly €450 million ($526 million) worth of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the third quarter of 2017, more than five times the €86 million it sold in the same quarter of last year. 

Egypt alone bought nearly €300 million worth of weapons, making it the number one export destination for German arms, while Saudi Arabia handed over nearly €150 million. By comparison, the two countries imported €45 million and €41 million respectively in the third quarter of 2016.

 A large proportion of the sales to Saudi Arabia likely consists of four patrol boats and 110 military trucks.  It remains unclear what Egypt bought.

Left party, Stefan Liebich, explained Germany's policies used to be more restrictive. "There were times when it was completely ruled out for Germany to deliver weapons to countries that were participating in wars," he said. "That only changed in the last two governments. It started with Turkey, which was sold weapons despite its war with the Kurds — that was a controversial discussion at the time."

Jürgen Grässlin, spokesman for the anti-arms trade campaign "Aktion Aufschrei — Stoppt den Waffenhandel!" ("outcry action — stop the arms trade!"), said, "The problem is the CSU has an interest in protecting the arms industry in Bavaria... It's an unbelievably unreliable arms export policy that constantly breaches its own guidelines."

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