SHAFAQNA- IRNA: Germany, France and the Uk, are three main European states who say they are concerned about violation of human rights around the world. However, their business interests come first when their arms sales go down.
Following the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year, Berlin decided to scale back its arms exports to Saudi Arabia that has been leading a coalition of several Arab countries to bomb Yemen.
Berlin also cited the four-year war in Yemen when it suspended arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has headed an alliance of Arab states — including Egypt and the UAE — fighting the Houthis in Yemen.
However, AFP reports that the German government has given the green light for arms shipments worth over €1 billion so far this year to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. The approval comes despite export restrictions being in place.
The German government has approved more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) this year in defense exports to members of the Saudi-led coalition directly involved in the war in Yemen, German news agency dpa reported, quoting a document from the country’s Ministry for Economic Affairs.
It showed that Berlin approved 56 defense export deals between January 1 and June 5, including €801.8 million worth of exports to Egypt and €26.1 million worth of exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the document, Berlin also approved two defense deals with Saudi Arabia during the period, despite a ban. Ulrich Nussbaum, a senior official in the ministry, said the deals included €831,000 worth of armored vehicles.
The document was issued by the ministry in response to a request for information by Omid Nouripour, a lawmaker belonging to the opposition Green Party.
Not everyone, however, welcomed the German ban on arms exports. France and the UK, for instance, have pressed Germany to lift restrictions. Both countries have criticized that the Saudi weapons freeze also bars sales of arms manufactured outside Germany that happen to have German components in them.
Paris said that Berlin’s arms export policy and complex licensing rules threatened future bilateral defense projects. The pressure from Britain and France forced Germany to partially lift its ban, particularly with regard to exports of weapons with German components.
There is also evidence that Germany’s arms export controls are ineffectual: In February, investigations by DW and others revealed that German weapons were being used in Yemen, despite the controls.
A report released by the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March showed that Saudi Arabia bought more weapons from abroad than any other country in the world, accounting for 12% of global arms imports.
Germany, meanwhile, increased its international arms sales by 13% between 2009–13 and 2014–18, according to the report, with German-built submarines enjoying particularly strong demand abroad.
Saudi Arabia, followed by Algeria, are the two biggest arms buyers from Germany.
Germany’s military arms exports set a record of 7,8bn euros in 2015.
Saudi is also the second largest client of global arms sales.
Following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the European Parliament called on EU countries to unite and impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.
In a resolution adopted last October, members of European parliament (MEPs) condemned in the strongest possible terms the torture and killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. They also called for an an arms embargo on Riyadh.
The text notes that the murder is unlikely to have happened without the knowledge or control of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Following the brutal murder, the resolution reiterated the European Parliament’s previous call on all EU governments to reach a common position in order to impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.
However, the resolution isn’t binding, showing that the lives of Yemeni women and children are least important for the union’s 28-member states when it comes to their business interests.
Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab states against Yemen back in 2015, leaving a large number of people dead and many other injured.
However, it seems that documents, films and pictures of the bloody war and the killing of innocent women and children are no proof enough to stop the Europeans to stop arms sales to perpetrators of this bloodshed.
Th The conflict has triggered what the UN describes as “the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world.”