First Published: 2012-06-17

 

Saudi Arabia seeks to boost arsenal with 600-800 German tanks

 

With up to 800 tanks, deal will be worth 10 billion euros ($12.6 billion), one of biggest-ever for German defence industry.

 

Middle East Online

Deal sparks controversy in Germany

FRANKFURT - Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600-800 Leopard battle tanks from Germany, more than twice as many as originally envisaged, the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported, quoting government sources.

Thus far, reports had said the Saudis wanted to purchase around 300 Leopard-2 tanks, Germany's main battle tank which is also produced under licence in Spain.

With up to 800 tanks, the deal would be worth 10 billion euros ($12.6 billion), and one of the biggest-ever for the German defence industry, Bild am Sonntag reported.

While there is opposition to the deal in the Chancellery and the Foreign and Defence ministries, there was support for it within the Economy Ministry, it said.

A deal for a first tranche of 300 tanks is ready for signing and the Saudis want to the whole deal wrapped up by July 20, when the festival of Ramadan begins, the newspaper said.

Spanish firm General Dynamic/Santa Barbara would produce the tanks under licence by the German firms, the newspaper said.

Arms exports are a sensitive issue in Germany given its Nazi past as well as the role arms makers like Krupp played in feeding 19th and 20th century wars with exports to both sides of conflicts.

Germany has refrained from exporting heavy weapons to Gulf states in the past, given its close relationship with Israel and more recently because of the so-called Arab Spring.

 

France carries out first air strike in Iraq

Iran, six powers return to negotiating table

Airlines suspend flights to Sanaa for 24 hours

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes

Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque

Neighbourhood in Iraq’s Dhuluiyah stands against jihadists

British photographer Cantlie twice held hostage by IS

Turkey opens border to desperate Syrian Kurds

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'