Arms exports for 1.2 billion euros


Berlin – The German government has approved arms exports to the countries of the war alliance that is fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen for more than a billion euros since early 2019.

For Egypt alone, 21 deliveries for 802 million euros were allowed within just under 15 months, for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) there were 76 individual permits worth 257 million euros. The figures come from a response from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to a request from left-wing MP Sevim Dagdelen, which has been received by the German Press Agency.

Three other members of the alliance – Bahrain, Jordan, and Kuwait – exported a total of 119 million euros. The leading power of Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, only received off-road vehicles for 831 003 euros. The kingdom is the only alliance country against which the federal government has imposed a complete arms export ban since November 2018, partly because of the Yemen war. The off-road vehicles were the only exception that has been made since then.


The total of 224 export permits from January 1, 2019, to March 24, 2020, add up to just under EUR 1.2 billion. Two other countries, which are currently also included in the alliance of predominantly Arab states, are missing. The Ministry gave no value for the approval of an export to Sudan and Mauritania is not included in the list.

In their coalition agreement, the Union and the SPD had agreed on arms exports for all countries “directly” involved in the Yemen war, which was only fully implemented for Saudi Arabia. The left, on the other hand, calls for an export freeze for all states involved in the war in any form. “With its gigantic arms deliveries to the war alliance led by Saudi Arabia, the German government shares responsibility for the immeasurable suffering in Yemen,” said Dagdelen, a left-wing foreign politician. “The arms embargo against the head-down dictatorship in Riyadh is far from enough.”

The alliance led by Saudi Arabia in the civil war in Yemen had been in existence for the fifth time last week. The Shiite Houthi rebels, which are supported by Iran, overran Yemen in 2014 and brought vast areas including the capital Sanaa under their control. The Saudi Air Force came to the aid of the Yemeni government and, above all with the support of the UAE, bombed Houthi positions.

The alliance is fragile five years after the start of the war. The Emirates and Sudan have withdrawn most of their troops from the civil war country. Egypt – with 440,000 men actually one of the strongest military in the Arab region – also has a secondary role: The Egyptian Navy primarily controls the Bab al-Mandab strait, which is one of the world’s most important shipping routes. The country also wants to protect the adjacent Red Sea and the Suez Canal from attacks by the Houthis.

In addition to the aforementioned members of the alliance, support also comes from other countries. Pakistani troops protect the border region with Yemen in Saudi Arabia. Logistical support also came from Somalia and neighboring Djibouti. The dwarf state in the Horn of Africa is only about 30 kilometers from the coast of Yemen and has approved Saudi Arabia to build a military base.

However, neither the coalition nor the individual countries provide precise information on the extent to which they are involved in the Yemen war. The United States and the United Kingdom support the alliance with intelligence information.