Germany approved arms sales to Egypt and Saudi Arabia worth some €450 million ($526 million) this year, a fivefold increase compared to last year, the DW Akademie reported yesterday.
The Germany Economic Ministry was forced to disclose the figures after a request from opposition MP Stefan Liebich, but the ministry did not release information on the type of weapons sold.
It was revealed that Egypt alone bought nearly €300 million ($353 million) worth of weapons, making it the number one export destination for German arms this year, while trade with Saudi Arabia amounted to approximately €150 million ($177 million).
The revelations provoked strong criticism from the left-wing opposition, who accused the German government of fuelling the ongoing war in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia and Egypt are both involved, and that has killed more than 10,000 people.
Speaking to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, Liebich criticised the government’s exports as “particularly reprehensible” and stated that Cairo and Riyadh had “to answer for the thousands of deaths from their dirty war in Yemen”.
Liebich warned the four parties negotiating a new coalition government — The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens — to chart a new course in Germany’s arms export policy at the risk of making itself complicit in war crimes.
Despite its numerous human rights violations at home and abroad, Egypt has continued to receive military aid from Western countries, particularly from Russia, last year signing arms deals worth up to $3 billion.
The US has traditionally been a core supplier of arms and military aid to Cairo, which is second only to Israel in the size of sums received. However, in August, the US cut military aid to Egypt by $95.7 million which the Trump administration justified highlighting concerns over human rights abuses in the country and Cairo’s relations with North Korea.
A month later, US President Donald Trump stated that his administration would “consider” resuming the suspended aid after Egypt cut military ties with North Korea. Human rights in the country have seen no improvement, with the US government admitting that Egypt has failed to investigate incidents of state torture.