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Defence & Arms Last Updated: Dec 14, 2011 - 11:52:29 AM

The Purpose of Arms Exports
By German Foreign Policy 9/12/11
Dec 14, 2011 - 11:51:28 AM

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The German government's newly published Arms Export Report confirms the main thrust of Berlin's foreign policy. According to the report, Berlin is continuing to pursue the arms buildup of the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsula - thereby lending support to anti-Iranian measures being taken by the West. German arms companies are also delivering ordnance to several countries in the close vicinity of the People's Republic of China, which corresponds to western efforts to force back or, at least, limit Beijing's influence. The Arms Export Report also points out that last year, Berlin had issued permits for the delivery of firearms to the Arabian Peninsula countries - weapons that had been used this year against demonstrators. Among the customers of expensive arms supplies are the indebted countries of the southern Euro zone, such as Portugal and Greece, who, already deep in a crisis, had been offered and accorded hundreds of millions of Euros worth of arms deliveries in 2010. Germany has now become the world's third largest arms exporter.

Tendency Rising

The German government's Arms Export Report for 2010, published Wednesday, clearly shows the current rising trend of German arms exports. For the first time, the annual value of combat weapons sold abroad has risen to more than two billion Euros (2.12 billion Euros). At the end of the 1990s, it had wavered at approximately 0.7 billion Euros, with but a few exceptions. The total value of arms exports necessitating authorization - which includes all arms products and not merely those explicitly recorded in the "War Weapons List" -also rose. Whereas at the end of the 1990s, permits for arms exports ranged between two and three billion Euros annually, today they are up to five billion Euros. In 2010, they were in the area of 4.75 billion Euros. Since some time, according to Stockholm's SIPRI Institute, Germany has ranked third in arms exports, with eleven percent of the world market, behind the USA (30 percent) and Russia (23 percent), but ahead of France (seven percent) and Great Britain (four percent). With tendency rising.[1]


As the German government stresses, Germany still exports the majority of its arms products to the NATO countries. Last year it was above all indebted countries in the southern Euro zone, who were buying German combat material. Greece paid 403 million Euros for German submarines and Portugal even 812 million Euros to German companies. In spite of drastic cuts in its social budget, Spain also owes more than 76 million Euros for war material. The submarines had been ordered a few years ago - approved by the (1998 - 2005) SPD-Green coalition government. Even though the crisis had struck the southern Euro economies, Berlin again authorized voluminous exports in 2010. For example, Portugal, while it is introducing stringent austerity measures, is again ordering combat material worth more than 811 million Euros, Spain seeks to buy for 84 million Euros, Italy will pay nearly 184 million Euros for contracts approved last year and Greece, for nearly 36 million Euros. Alongside the German arms industry's plunder of southern Euro countries, it must be noted that even the US war machine is being supported by German exports. In 2010 alone, the German government had authorized the export to the United States of more than 600 million Euros worth of arms.

Submachine Guns and Ammunition

The report also confirms that the Arabian Peninsula dictatorships, which down through the years, on various occasions, have suppressed mass protests - particularly in Bahrain with the support of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but also in Saudi Arabia, itself - have at their disposal large amounts of so-called small arms "made in Germany." Their arsenals had been stocked previously with German firearms. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) In 2010, the German government authorized the export of even more submachine guns, rifles and the necessary spare parts for their maintenance. The deliveries were made to Bahrain (50 submachine guns and other material), to Qatar (103 submachine guns and spare parts), Kuwait (80 submachine guns and other hardware), Oman (15 submachine guns), the UAE (around 625 rifles) and Saudi Arabia (more than 3,000 rifles and other hardware). Ammunition was delivered as well. Submachine guns and spare parts were also authorized for export to Thailand, which had brutally repressed mass protests in 2010.[3]


Since the years 2007/2008, the dictatorships of the Arabian Peninsula have become a key region for German arms exports. Having already reached a record high in 2009 (german-foreign-policy.com reported [4]), export licenses stabilized at a high level this year, particularly to Saudi Arabia (152.5 million Euros, ranking tenth on the list of German military hardware customers) and the United Arab Emirates (262.5 million Euros ranking fifth) and to a lesser degree Bahrain (16.5 million Euros), Qatar (4 million Euros), Kuwait (20 million) and Oman (20 million). Saudi Arabia, for example, will import an aerial reconnaissance system from Germany, the Emirates a combat training center. According to recent reports, the planned delivery of Leopard 2A7+ battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, which had made headlines last summer, and which will exceed the originally planned 200, has not been included.[5] Arms exports to the Arabian Gulf dictatorships are particularly important because of rivalry with Iran. Saudi Arabia considers itself the future leading power in the Persian Gulf region and on several occasions has already threatened Iran with aggression.[6] Berlin is, therefore, not merely exporting arms generally to a region of tensions, but is concretely arming forces, which constitute a military threat to Iran, a rival of the West.[7]

A Ring of Fire Around China

The current Arms Export Report confirms that Berlin is continuing to deliver large quantities of arms to the People's Republic of China's Asian rivals and its pro-western neighbors. India will receive military hardware worth almost 97 million Euros. But India cannot be armed without consideration of Pakistan, if the delicate balance of power on the subcontinent is not to be upset. Therefore, Pakistan will also be receiving arms of the same value. Importing German arms valued at nearly 271 million Euros, South Korea ranks fourth among the customers for German military hardware and tiny Singapore, with its more than 54 million Euros worth, ranks 18th. Exports were authorized to Malaysia worth 40 million Euros and to Thailand, 13 million Euros. Both of these countries, like Singapore, are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which the West seeks to win over to its side in the looming hegemonic conflict with China.[8] As recent reports indicate, Indonesia would like to purchase 100 German Leopard 2A6 battle tanks, a deal worth 280 million US Dollars, which was not mentioned in the 2010 report. The Singapore armed forces are already using Leopard battle tanks. The Persian Gulf dictatorships' military build-up is aimed at Iran, while that of the East and South East Asian countries is, in the long run, aimed at the People's Republic of China. This corresponds to the German establishment's strategic plans. Last summer, the "Federal College for Security Studies in Berlin" (BAKS) was referring to a "ring of fire around China."[9]

[1] Angaben hier und im Folgenden: Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2010
[2] see also Beneficiary of Repression and Submachine Guns and Ammunition
[3] see also A Relaxed and Comfortable Putsch and Nach dem Blutbad
[4] see also Militärpartner am Golf (II) and Stabile Conditions
[5] see also Hegemonic Conflict at the Gulf (II)
[6] see also War Threats against Iran (II)
[7] see also War Threats against Iran
[8] see also War Strategies (II), Offensiven gegen China (III) and Verbündete gegen Beijing (I)
[9] see also A Ring of Fire around China

Source:Ocnus.net 2011

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