Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 08, 2011

German Tanks For Saudi "Peace Support Operations"

A serious scandal is brewing in Germany after the public got wind about a secret decision by the the security cabinet to sell 200 main battle tanks to Saudi Arabia.

The Merkel administration says to its own excuse that the U.S. and Israel did not protest against this sale. That only makes one wonder why they were asked. Ain't Germany sovereign?

But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.

The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for "Peace Support Operations". Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.

For fighting against other tanks in the desert a Leopard II A6 version with a 55 caliber length cannon would be much preferable. The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) has a shorter, less capable 44 caliber length cannon which makes it more maneuverable in confined surroundings. It also has less battle protection on the front but instead more all around and above protection against Rocket Propelled Grenades and IEDs. The A7 also has a remote control weapon station for an additional machine gun, special cameras to survey the near surroundings of the tank, an extra communication port for voice contact with troops on foot outside of the tank, a dozer blade to remove barricades as well as several other goodies that do not make much sense in bigger battles but are useful to violently suppress protests.

According to a recent poll 94% of Germans are against weapon exports if those weapons are likely to be used against internal protests.

The Merkel administration is much in a twist over this. On one side it claims that it supports the Arab spring movement for more democracy. On the other side it sells these tanks to the Saudis who recently violently suppressed such a movement in Bahrain, who early this year fought (and badly lost) against the Houti rebels in Yemen and who are generally the most political backward and unjust regime one can think of. Even Merkel's conservative followers despise the Saudis for their support for Salafi preachers in Europe. "Ain't those the terrorists you told us to be afraid about?" they ask.

In reality Merkel is of course part of the U.S./Saudi/Israeli counter revolution alliance which wants to keep the status quo in the "moderate" Middle Eastern regimes. But that is not what she claims. The German public is not yet dumb enough to swallow such hypocrisy.

Officially the government still says nothing about the deal. It is all secret. But the horse is out of the barn now and this will be one more reason why the Merkel government will come down and fall pretty hard.

The really interesting, much asked but not yet answered, questions about this deal are:

  • Who did get the various bribes in this deal?
  • Who in the very small security cabinet, usually just 5-7 current government ministers, spilled the beans about the deal to the press?

The media summer hole, where real news is sparse, will leave much room for journalists and the public to look into these issues.

Posted by b on July 8, 2011 at 02:19 PM | Permalink

Comments

Frankly, selling arms to the Saudis is only a way of recycling oil money to the West. Recycling oil money to the West is a legitimate activity, in my view, after all we pay.

The Saudis don't have much use for these arms.

The case of the Saudi troops sent to Bahrain didn't need this weaponry. Indeed, were any shots fired, apart from light weapons?

Would not ancient tanks, M48 or M60, have sufficed?

Yes, it is true that there is a lot of corruption. I worked for a company which had a contract with the Saudis in the 80s. Effectively the corruption was spent on luxury goods in the UK. Stop the corruption and a good many companies will fail.

At the moment, most of the oil money is spent in the west, corruption or no, do you want that to stop?

Posted by: alexno | Jul 8, 2011 4:28:21 PM | 1

"According to a recent poll 94% of Germans are against weapon exports if those weapons are likely to be used against internal protests."

All weapons developed by the military industrial complex will be used against civilians at some point in time. As the movie once said, it they build it, they will used it.

Posted by: joseph | Jul 8, 2011 4:35:41 PM | 2

"Stop the corruption and a good many companies will fail."

yup

corruption is good.

decency is haywire.

that's how you get stuff like 9/11, isnt it?

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 8, 2011 5:09:37 PM | 3

if i was a traditional sort of jewish person, i'd be rejoicing at the evidence piling up... i'd know that soon enough, despite the triumphs we've recently experienced, we're soon gonna be back in the doghouse.

because we're traditionally most happy being losers, and really dont know how to be winners long term, it's a comfort to have our loser status confirmed.

the psychopaths will get away with the loot, but that's okay, so long as the rest of us lose.

such opportunities to whine, looming!

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 8, 2011 5:23:35 PM | 4

"Frankly, selling arms to the Saudis is only a way of recycling oil money to the West. Recycling oil money to the West is a legitimate activity, in my view, after all we pay."

To the contrary: this is a looting operation of the classic imperialist kind. If the oil belongs to anyone it is not the House of Saud but the Arab people who have much better uses for the money than the tyrants who rule them. As to the "west" it owns the oil companies and the extraction enterprises which take the great bulk of the profits from this business.

"The Saudis don't have much use for these arms."

They certainly do, and in the coming years they expect to have much more use for them. Whether that takes the form of bullying Arab neighbours into acceptance of the Empire, or suppressing demonstrations or assisting in a war against Iran, or just parking them on street corners, they will find a use for them. It is as well to bear in mind that a new King will shortly be taking charge and among the contenders are some extremely violent partisans of the US and Israel.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 8, 2011 10:32:32 PM | 5

guitar at 3:18

Posted by: groundresonance | Jul 9, 2011 2:29:41 AM | 6

Actually, ALL complex weapon system further knifes and arrows, have many secret, concealed and integrated in the electronic, switches. From tanks to airplanes and missiles.
The control remain in hands of the manufactures. And his respective Gov.

Posted by: an idiot | Jul 9, 2011 5:15:16 AM | 7

Can't say i'd like to be the one throwing a rock at that machine.
Good for the German populace, would be nice to see some arms dealers go down.
peace

Posted by: david | Jul 9, 2011 5:29:00 AM | 8

"The control remain in hands of the manufacturer. And his respective Gov."

Sorry , I am no sure about who controls the switches.

Posted by: an idiot | Jul 9, 2011 7:18:26 AM | 9

"Who in the very small security cabinet, usually just 5-7 current government ministers, spilled the beans about the deal to the press?"

From DW:
"The anonymous Saudi source probably had no idea what trouble he was causing. On Monday, the informant told a Reuters reporter about Saudi Arabia's deal to buy 200 2A7+ Leopard tanks from Germany."

Posted by: nobodee | Jul 9, 2011 11:20:44 AM | 10

@nobodee - the article is signed "Editor: Rob F(M)udge"

Not a reliable source.

Posted by: b | Jul 9, 2011 2:25:11 PM | 11

Pragmatism, the choice to do what works regardless of consequences, brought Mussolini to Italy and helped bring the Nazis to Germany. Now Merkel for a few billions is selling Germany's future soul, as Faust did his own.
Saudi Arabia just beheaded with the sword several muslim Indonesian women, that were only accused of offenses ranging from offending to killing their bosses. There is a video of the beheading of an Indonesian woman worker accused of killing her boss-- whether or not it was self-defense or not does not matter. The land of the muslim shrines is and is being unjust! The bosses can torture, rape and sometimes even murder women workers. Be careful watch out women employees in Saudi.
The 911 hijacker- muslim fanatic washabi murders were also from the land of the muslim holy shrines! Be careful watch out women employees in Saudi.

Posted by: Freddy Martin | Jul 10, 2011 4:11:53 PM | 12

re 3 & 5

Obviously I am against corruption.

In Saudi, though, there's not much difference between corruption and true payments. True payments for the oil go to the regime, and there is little distinction between the finances of the state, and those of the ruling family. It's not worth making a distinction in a macro-economic sense.

More important is where that money goes. To luxury goods in the West, mostly. Little goes to the Eastern slaves who work for them.

Study of money-flows would be useful, if it were possible.

Posted by: alexno | Jul 10, 2011 4:17:56 PM | 13

re 5

"The Saudis don't have much use for these arms."

They certainly do,

That is wrong. The Saudi army buys a lot of weapons, but it is highly doubtful that they can use them to advantage.

In the two cases where the Saudi army went to war, in Kuwait in 1991, and Bahrain this year, advanced arms played no role. M60 tanks, and AK47s, would have been sufficient.

Buying more elaborate weapons is an economic issue, recycling the oil money, as I said.

Posted by: alexno | Jul 10, 2011 4:45:07 PM | 14

@B

Re: "Editor: Rob F(M)udge"

I don't like fudge either - this editor, Rob Mudge, I know nothing about - but absent any links provided in the post, except the video, I go for the advert-free DW. Apparently I could have done better..

By the way, the Saudi army doesn't use British Challenger tanks.
They have the French AMX.

Do check a reliable source.

Posted by: nobodee | Jul 10, 2011 8:52:07 PM | 15

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