Germany looks to cancel Saudi mega tank deal
- Published on Monday, 14 April 2014 07:27
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Saudi Arabia’s plans to buy up to 800 German tanks is in jeopardy. Germany’s Economy Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, is against the deal and without his approval it will not go through, according to German newspaper Bild.
The German government will not approve a reported deal to sell up to 800 battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, a German Sunday newspaper said, citing government sources.
The sale of the Leopard-2 tanks was billed as one of the biggest deals for the German armaments industry, Bild reported.
But Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat in the left-right “grand coalition,” has “positioned himself against a tanks delivery to the autocratic royal house,” it said, citing government sources.
“Without agreement from the economy minister, the deal has no chance,” Bild said.
The report said the deal was not sent for approval to the German national security council, which counts Chancellor Angela Merkel among its members.
In 2012 Bild am Sonntag reported that Saudi Arabia wanted to buy 600-800 Leopard battle tanks from Germany, more than twice as many as originally envisaged.
Its latest report Sunday said Saudi Arabia was chasing the German tanks for years and had budgeted nearly €18 billion ($25 billion) for them.
The Leopard-2 tanks, Germany’s main battle tank, is also produced under license in Spain.
Germany declined to sell heavy weapons to Saudi Arabia for decades because of concerns over human rights and fears for Israel’s security.
Read the full story from DefenceNews.It’s not known why Germany’s Economy Minister is against the deal as it would be one of the country’s largest military orders. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand is known for buying weapons it doesn’t need for political gain.
Canadian armoured vehicles parked in the Saudi desert for a rainy day (it doesn’t rain much)
Saudi Arabia has also been known to stockpile weapons for use by its allies. In any case, Saudi Arabia already has more weapons that it can ever use. The country currently has over 800 tanks, mainly US made, so doubling the size with this huge German order doesn’t make military sense… but it might make political sense. If only Germany would take the bait.