Hegemonic Conflict at the Gulf (II)

RIAD/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is continuing to pursue its arms buildup of the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular with its planned delivery of 200 combat tanks to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, which has already been receiving combat aircraft ("Eurofighters") as well as French/German produced command and control operation centers, as well as other military equipment, holds sixth place on the customer list for German combat material - NATO customers included. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) even holds second place - immediately behind the United States. Saudi Arabia, which has been producing under license the German-origin G3 assault rifle, has now been furnished a factory for the production of the G3's successor - G36 assault rifle - under license from the Heckler and Koch gunsmith company in Southern Germany. The buildup of arms in Saudi Arabia and the other dictatorships at the Gulf is not only being implemented on the premise of the arms business' seeking to maintain a top position on the global arms market - Germany is the third largest weapons vender in the world. There are also geostrategic reasons: Since the breakup of Iraq, Iran has the potential to become the leading power in the resources rich region of the Persian Gulf. Its local rivals are being called upon to block this development, so that western hegemony will continue to reign over the Middle East.

Leopard 2A7+

Since German government plans to approve the delivery of 200 Leopard 2A7+ combat tanks to Saudi Arabia became known on the weekend, opposition politicians, and even members of the government coalition parties have been expressing their strong disapproval. The plans violate German guidelines for arms exports, forbidding arms deliveries into war and crisis zones, say the SPD and the Greens. Even CDU Bundestag parliamentarians, for example the Chairman of the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, Ruprecht Polenz or the Bundestag's President Norbert Lammert have publicly expressed their disapproval of the deal. You cannot cozy up to the democracy movements in the Arab world, while supplying one of their most authoritarian regimes in the region with combat tanks - especially when Riyadh just recently helped to crush the democracy movement in Bahrain.[1] This objection is all the more serious, given the fact that the Leopard 2A7+, produced by the Munich-based Krauss Maffei Wegman Company, is especially designed for combat in constructed areas and is therefore ideal for repressing riots and domestic rebellions. With its bulldozer blade, it is said to be the ideal equipment for handling "aggressive demonstrators."[2] The German government has not repudiated that forty-four of these tanks have already been sold to Saudi Arabia.

Eurofighter, Command Centers, Military Airbus

In fact, the arms buildup in Saudi Arabia and the other dictatorships at the Gulf has been in operation already for quite some time. Riyadh, which is one of German weaponsmiths' long-standing business partners, has significantly increased its German imports over the past few years. According to the German government's Arms Exports Report for 2008, Saudi Arabia ranked eighth among German combat material customers and the UAE ranked ninth. In 2009, Saudi Arabia had jumped to sixth place with the UAE having taken over second place. This list also includes all of the NATO nations. Riyadh's war material purchases include 72 Eurofighters, which German companies have helped to produce. The Saudi Air Force is already using these fighter jets, which exposes the lie, of the current tank deal being the first sale of heavy war material to Riyadh. This Arabian Peninsular dictatorship has become one of the regular customers of the Cassidian division, the military branch of the German-French EADS Corp., which has now opened a branch office in the Saudi capital. Alongside command and control operation centers for ground based aerial defenses, Cassidian has also sold Riyadh billions of Euros worth of a border security system - a business deal that made it possible for the German border police to take on a training mission in Riyadh. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) The Saudi Air Force now has an Airbus-Military A330 MRTT in operation, a German-French refueling aircraft.

Assault Rifles, Submachine Guns

Alongside its heavy-duty purchases, Saudi Arabia has also lighter weaponry "made in Germany" at its disposal. The Arms Exports Reports covering the past few years - the government has not yet published the 2010 report - list consistently a large quantity of rifles, submachine guns and machineguns with their spare parts and ammunition being exported to Riyadh. The same holds true for the other dictatorships of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. In 1969, Riyadh had even obtained the permit to produce under license the G3 assault rifles from the southern German Heckler and Koch weaponsmith. Since the G3 is no longer abreast of the modern developments in the technology of killing, Saudi Arabia will now have complete production facilities for its successor model, the G36. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[4]) It is not known whether German firearms were used in the crushing of the democracy movement in Bahrain. They were available at the time as well as in Oman or in Egypt, which, in 2009 alone, had received 900 Heckler and Koch submachine guns.[5]

Growth through Exports

Following the uproar over the tank deal, Berlin has been conciliatorily explaining that this deal had above all been influenced by the economic policy based on export of all kinds, which is not entirely false. Given the fact that EU military budgets will only grow, if at all, at a moderate rate, German arms manufacturers are seeking to increase their exports. Recently the Cassidian division of EADS made a declaration to this effect. Even though the turnover in 2010 for the military branch of EADS rose a good eleven percent to six billion Euros, new contracts are suffering a severe stagnation along with the rates of returns. "We now have to go to where there is double-digit growth in military expenditures," explained the German head of Cassidian, meaning "for example, India, Brazil or the Middle East."[6] The company seeks to double its rates of returns from non-European clients to reach 60 percent of its total rates of returns by 2020 to approx. twelve billion Euros. Similar plans are being declared at the German Rheinmetall armorer that produces tanks. In an effort to gain better accessibility, above all to the Arab market, Rheinmetall, along with other companies, is building plants in Algeria, to produce the Daimler "Sprinter" and "Unimog" models alongside Rheinmetall's Fuchs armored personnel carrier. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[7]) In the next few days, the German National Security Council is due to examine this case.

Western Hegemony

Nevertheless, arms exports are of course only possible under the condition that they not impinge on the objectives of the German government's foreign policy. But particularly the arms buildup of the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsula is in Berlin's interests. In terms of its economic and political potential, Iran has become the strongest power at the Persian Gulf since the USA and its allies bombed Iraq to ash and rubble. However, the Teheran government's recalcitrance is jeopardizing western hegemony in this resources-rich region. In addition, this has prompted Berlin and Washington to jockey the Arabian dictatorships into a position of confrontation with Teheran. Whereas western politicians loudly point to the deficiencies in women's rights in Iran, they are silent about the absolute absence of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. The threat to western hegemony explains also the western sanctions against Iran, on the one hand, and the arms buildup of Saudi Arabia and the other dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular, on the other. They are to keep Teheran in check. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) Therefore the delivery of the Leopard 2A7+ is not only helping to stabilize the vassal government in Riyadh in face of domestic rebellions but is also part of that government's arms buildup against threats to western hegemony.

[1] see also Submachine Guns and Ammunition and Nur Rhetorik
[2] Panzer-Video preist Vorgehen gegen "aggressive Demonstranten"; www.handelsblatt.com 05.07.2011
[3] see also Stabile Conditions
[4] see also Sturmgewehre
[5] see also Beneficiary of Repression
[6] EADS rüstet in fernen Ländern auf; www.ftd.de 29.03.2011. See also Stabile Conditions
[7] see also Hoflieferant autoritärer Regime
[8] see also Hegemonic Conflict at the Gulf, Fragile Use of the Gulf Dictatorships and Kampf der Titanen. In Form inoffizieller "Einschätzungen" wird dies inzwischen aus Berliner Regierungskreisen an die Medien lanciert. So heißt es etwa unter Berufung auf ungenannte Hauptstadtquellen: "Saudi-Arabien sei ein Faktor zur Eindämmung des iranischen Einflusses, welcher seit dem Fall des irakischen Herrschers Saddam Hussein noch gewachsen sei." Opposition gegen Panzer-Export; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05.07.2011