Germany to Sell 150 IRIS-T Missiles to Saudi Arabia

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Germany to Sell 150 IRIS-T Missiles to Saudi Arabia
Germany will sell 150 air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia along with Eurofighters. The approval marks the end of a five-year embargo.

The weekly Der Spiegel reported the information and confirmed by Steffen Hebestreit, the German government spokesperson, on January 10. It comes just days after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared that Berlin would no longer oppose the sale of 48 Eurofighter Typhoons by the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

Spokesperson Hebestreit added, “These weapons should not be used in Yemen and should not be used in connection with possible human rights violations.” 

German Eurofighter TurDef.jpg

Five years ago, Berlin decided to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia for two reasons. The first was the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul. London had signed a memorandum of understanding with Riyadh in 2018 to deliver 48 Typhoons. Berlin blocked this deal after the assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The agreement reached in October 2021 by the Social Democratic Party [SPD], the Liberal Democrats and the environmentalists to form a new government coalition under the authority of Olaf Scholz had been apparent: Germany was going to “tighten” its rules on sales of military equipment, including at the European Union level. In short, this suggested that Berlin would only grant export licenses to NATO member [or associated] countries, with the understanding that the sale of arms to warring states would permanently be excluded. Saudi Arabia is at war with Yemen. 

Germany’s approach prevented the United Kingdom from concluding a sale of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, which has since been unable to obtain what it wanted; it said the Kingdom was considering obtaining 54 Rafale from France.

On the other hand, the German coalition broke its arms exports worth 11.71 billion euros. The majority was for a country at war, Ukraine.

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