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.

 

Essebsi wins Tunisia election to become first freely elected President

U-turn: Qatar pledges 'full support' to Sisi's Egypt

Syria civil war has cost tiny neighbour Lebanon more than $ 20 billion

Erdogan slams birth control as ‘treason’ against Turkey ambitions

Arts Canteen London presents Attab Haddad: Iraqi oud with a western twist

Israel charges Palestinians for ‘inciting violence on Facebook’

Hollande urges ‘utmost vigilance’ after brutal weekend attacks in France

Turkey graft scandal: Four ex-ministers await decision on their fate

Berlin seeks to set up trauma centre for IS rape victims

Syria claims downing of Israeli reconnaissance drone

Rafah border crossing reopens for two days

Israel parliament approves funding for settler tourism plan

Five jihadists killed in clashes with Egypt police

Essebsi claims victory in Tunisia presidential poll

Coalition targets ‘Islamic State’ in areas north of Aleppo

Libya Islamist-backed government urges foreigners to return to Tripoli

Palestinians enter Egypt as Rafah crossing reopens for two days

Davutoglu accuses EU of 'dirty campaign' against Turkey

Raid on terrorists accidentally kills Saudi youth in Awamiya town

Egypt sentences ‘spy for Israel’ to ten years in prison

Jordan ends eight-year moratorium on death penalty

Egypt President removes powerful spy chief

Barzani in Mount Sinjar after end of jihadist siege

Tunisia votes for president in final leg of democratic transition

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide