SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — A wide majority of Germans strongly oppose the sale of hundreds of German-made battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, according to a poll published by the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Stern.
Some 75 percent of those questioned rejected the planned sale of up to 800 combat tanks to the despotic Arab regime, while only 20 percent backed the highly controversial deal.
Germany's government has refused to comment on a recent press report that said Riyadh is to purchase 600 to 800 Leopard 2 combat tanks, not 200 to 300 as reported a year ago.
A sale of the Leopard 2 tanks by German arms manufacturer, Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), would require green light by the top-secret National Security Council, headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German peace, church and labor union organizations have joined opposition parties in protesting the planned sale of tanks to Riyadh, whose worth is estimated at 10 billion euros.
They have expressed strong concern over the secretive nature of the arms deal, saying these these tanks could be used to crush internal dissent in either Saudi Arabia or neighboring Bahrain where Riyadh played a key role in smashing a popular uprising in March, 2011.
Weapons from Germany have been massively deployed in the Middle East and North Africa to suppress peaceful protests, according to a report published by the London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI).
German weapon exports included small firearms, ammunition and military vehicles which were used to squash demonstrations. — www.shafaqna.com/english/