9

I have recently been in Berlin and caught a glimpse of a more unusual protest:

Arms export protest in Berlin

I cannot understand German, but based on the setup (Iron throne with rifles instead of swords) it was clearly related to some arms policy that involves Germany, UK, France and Spain.

This article provides more information about the protest:

Activists wearing masks depicting European leaders held a rally in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Saturday, to decry arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

However, according to this article there seem to be a consensus in Germany to suspend such exports:

In Germany, the coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD adopted in February 2018 indicated that, under the new government, Germany would not licence any more arms sales to the coalition states.

Question: Is Germany still exporting arms to countries involved in Yemen?

  • 1
    The german government has till today not agreed which states are involved in the war in Yemen and as such should not get any more german arms. – Martin Schröder May 12 at 10:25
  • 4
    The banner reads: “Stop the game of the throne. Stop arms exports.” – chirlu May 12 at 11:50
  • 1
    ... in German it's rather "deutsche Waffen, deutsches Geld - morden in aller Welt" (and nobody is exactly proud if that, except the profiteers of that bloody business). – Martin Zeitler May 13 at 9:34
8

In short: it's murky.

In theory the answer is no -- there are no more arms sales to parties involved in the conflict:

Conflicts abroad have also spurred Germany to prohibit or put a freeze on the sale of arms. In November 2018, the German government stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia as a reaction to the killing of the government-critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

At the end of 2018, German chancellor Angela Merkel signed an agreement forbidding the sale of weapons to any country directly involved with the war in Yemen.

To clarify that last paragraph, and why I failed to locate a list of affected countries, Martin Schröder in the comments provides a helpful piece of information:

The German government has been repeatably asked for a list [of which countries and groups are affected by the extended ban] by the press and refused to answer; they are still discussing it internally. [as of May 12 2019]

This caused a sharp drop in arms exports and even economic issues at home.

In practice, Germany appears to continue to sell arms to Riyadh indirectly:

an investigation by the Stern magazine together with the ARD broadcaster has revealed that the German arms company Rheinmetall has been selling weapons to Riyadh through its subsidiaries in Italy and South Africa despite the complete halt in exports ordered by the German chancellor after the murder of dissident Saudi journalist in Istanbul.

A month ago, Merkel also explained that Germany participates in programs with France and the UK, which continue to supply arms to the Saudis.

  • In practice the German government does not answer the question which countries it deems as directly involved with the war. Saudi? UAE? USA? UK? – Martin Schröder May 12 at 13:25
  • That bold part: spiegel.de/politik/ausland/… – LangLangC May 12 at 14:55
  • @MartinSchröder: I failed to locate the complete list of parties while finding references to insert in this answer. Given what's in the first link my assumption is it's out there somewhere, but in German. – Denis de Bernardy May 12 at 16:07
  • You might want to check the initiators of the protest, on this site with links to articles in the press: aufschrei-waffenhandel.de/daten-fakten/empfaengerlaender – LangLangC May 12 at 18:20
  • @DenisdeBernardy No. The German government has been repeatably asked for a list by the press and refused to answer; they are still discussing it internally. – Martin Schröder May 12 at 20:10
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The German government likes to deny that such deals happen, at the same time that they are approved by the government via its security council only after strict investigation, and it even goes to lengths to publish decisions that sound like an embargo to weapons or other military equipment (grouped into the same category as weapons).

The reality, however, is quite different.

From 2018–2019 the numbers are offically:

Einzelgenehmigungen für die Ausfuhr von Rüstungsgütern in die fragegegenständlichen Länder im Zeitraum 14. März 2018 bis 13. März 2019:

Destination Country   Number of approvals  Euros
Egypt                   35                  11.830.695
Bahrain                 9                   16.217.849
Yemen                   –                   –
Jordan                  19                  11.257.862
Qatar                   51                  75.545.037
Kuwait                  65                  47.732.119
Saudi-Arabia            10                 254.577.437
UAE                     68                  56.514.431

"Individual licences for the export of military equipment to the countries in question in the period from 14 March 2018 to 13 March 2019." src: Schriftliche Frage an die Bundesregierung im Monat März 2019 Fragen Nr. 226 (PDF)

And it doesn't stop.

Spiegel: Arms exports. Berlin approves arms deliveries to Yemen warring parties. Donnerstag, 11.04.2019 19:35 Uhr

5

Yes. German companies supply parts for weapons systems sold to these countries, and also dual-use goods to military customers.

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