Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saudi Arabia bribed Germany for tank deal?

A Leopard 2 heavy tank in a military exercise in Letzlingen, Germany on March 9, 2011

Source: Press TV

A senior German lawmaker has revealed that Riyadh is believed to have paid bribe to Germany in order to convince it to sign a deal to sell advanced military tanks to the Persian Gulf kingdom.

It is likely that Riyadh has bribed Berlin to sign a deal to sell the tanks to Saudi Arabi, Deutsche Welle quoted senior Greens MP Christian Stroeble as saying.

The purchase follows Saudi Arabia's $93 billion handout to Germany in March as a 'stimulus package' from Saudi King Abdullah to Berlin in March that included extra support for police and security forces, the report says.

The German government has come under pressure over revelations of the arms deal in which it has reportedly sold advanced tanks capable of crushing anti-government protests to Saudi Arabia.

Germany's tank deal with Saudi Arabia has caused outrage, drawing criticism from across the political spectrum, Germany's.

According to the report, an informed source recently revealed to media that Saudi Arabia's deal included a bid to purchase 200 2A7+ Leopard tanks from Germany.

"So far, Saudi has bought 44 tanks from Germany and in total wants to buy 200 tanks from Germany," the unnamed source said.

The news caused outrage in Germany where memories of Saudi troops suppressing Bahrain's anti-government protestors are still fresh, and the mood was even aggravated by a video posted on Youtube apparently showing how the 2A7+ could be used to break up demonstrations.

Riyadh is believed to have used the tanks to help crush anti-government protests in Bahrain, a hereditary monarchy in the Persian Gulf island.

"If German Leopard tanks are being used to clear barricades and suppress demonstrations, then we carry some responsibility for violating human rights," says Renke Brahms, a peace commissioner for the Evangelical Church in Germany.

Hans-Joachim Otto, the state secretary for the country's economics ministry, defended Germany's business alliance with Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi Arabia has obtained armaments from Germany for many years," Otto told the German parliament on Wednesday.

Opposition lawmakers have blasted the Merkel administration for violating Germany's policies.

"This is a blatant breach of weapons export guidelines," said senior parliamentarian Katja Keul, noting that the sophisticated tanks should not be exported to the country for repression purposes.

In March, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed their military forces to Bahrain to help the government crush the nationwide protests. Yet, the protests have only grown more popular.

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