Arms exports: This is how the federal government is fooling us

In Germany, German is the official language. Therefore, the German government makes its public statements in German – and one is required to follow the rules of German semantics in their interpretation.

For example, at a rate that has been in the annual Armaments Export Report of the changing federal governments every year since the year 2000: “Permits for the export of war weapons and other armaments are only granted if the final destination of those goods in the final recipient country has been ensured beforehand,” affirms the government always word for word.

The wording is unmistakable. The government regularly announces that weapons technology must not leave recipient countries. Otherwise, she would have had to add further explanations in her public statements – for example, that under certain conditions the recipient countries might be able to use the German armaments in a war in the neighboring country.

But such a limiting explanation is not found in the Federal Government's annual arms export reports. However, massive deviations from the principle that weapons must remain in the recipient country can be found in reality – in which the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in particular, is using a large amount of war equipment delivered from Germany in Yemen. The star and the other partners of the research project #GermanArms have now proven this.

Federal government reacts in a crazy way

So did the Emiratis break the rules? The Federal Government reacts extremely misplaced to this question. However, the Ministry of Economy led by Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) states that the seemingly unambiguous statements in the arms export reports are by no means to be taken literally: “It is one of the legitimate security interests of states, armaments also outside their own territory or their own territorial waters For example, in maneuvers or “internationally legitimized missions,” for example, in UN missions, wrote us a spokesman for the Ministry. “In line with international practice, it is therefore essential to ensure that the ultimate power of disposal of the final recipient is maintained”, he added.

Sometimes the weapons may be used out of the country, contrary to the government's seemingly straightforward statements in the armor export reports. But the bloody interventions of Saudis and Emiratis in Yemen are neither maneuvers nor UN missions – even though their troops are fighting there at the request of the official government. So, did the Emiratis send warships built in Germany in ports in Yemen and let weapon stations and tank technology developed in Germany roll through civil war lands?

The Federal Government reacts to this question – as I said – by misrepresentation. According to a statement by the German foreign ministry led by Heiko Maas (SPD) last week, we were even relatively apodictic that the federal government had “no information on a violation of end-use declarations for armaments exported from Germany to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates in front”. Chancellor Angela Merkel's Federal Press Office put it a little more cautiously: “The Federal Government is no secure information on a breach of end-use declarations for directly exported from Germany armaments to the United Arab Emirates or to Saudi Arabia,” wrote us a spokeswoman.

Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier “nothing is known”

But what has the government done to get backed up information? There are no clear answers. Especially unrestrained to talk the problem in the Federal Ministry of Economics small. German weapons and German armaments technology in Yemen? No, “I know nothing about this,” economic minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) asserted these days.

And even in October 2018 – more than four months ago – a representative of his house tried to explain the situation in a particularly determined manner: “So far we have no knowledge that weapons supplied directly from Germany to Saudi Arabia have been used in Yemen speaks for the past findings for it, “assured Christian Shepherd (CDU), Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in the Bundestag. And he gave the impression that this also applies to the Emiratis. There they had come in a recent final inspection for small arms “to the conclusion” that “no use has been made.”

So no use in Yemen, that was the message. Even on Wednesday, a Altmaier spokeswoman in the Federal press conference insisted that there are still “no findings” about a possible violation of Endverbrauchszusagen – and press reports, the spokeswoman, one could “not comment further”. Until Deputy Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer intervened, assuring that the reports from #GermanArms had of course been “taken note of” and “any hint” followed.

For that, the evidence presented by #GermanArms was too clear – for example, the images of weapon stations of the Fewas type on the streets of the Civil War country or a warship built in Germany in the port city of Mocha.

“We are also the most restrictive in the EU”

The topic of arms exports is important, and it is tricky. That is why the Federal Government emphasizes on many occasions that it shows “transparency” here. And she says she is “restrictive”. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs asserted in October: “We are also the most restrictive in the EU.”

But the government is not transparent here until today. It usually leaves unanswered questions about individual arms exports. And it is less restrictive than other EU countries. Unlike Germany, Denmark and Finland have now imposed arms embargoes not only against Saudi Arabia but also against the UAE. According to information from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in our neighboring country Austria, it reacted immediately after the outbreak of the war in Yemen in March 2015. Since then “export licenses for defense goods in the UAE” by the authorities in Austria “in principle only under conditions granted”. Thus, the export control authority is “to make it credible that a corresponding assurance in the End User Declaration (EVE) or the nature of the goods, the clear risk can be excluded that the goods are actually used by operating in the conflict area Yemen UAE troops.”

It must therefore be “ruled out” that the Emiratis use new armaments supplied from Austria in the “conflict area of ​​Yemen”. Similar statements of the allegedly even more restrictive German Federal Government are not yet known.

Yes, stop! The “Political Principles” for armaments exports, adopted by the then red-green coalition in 2000, also states: “The supply of war weapons and other armaments-related other armaments is not permitted in countries that are involved in armed conflicts or where such threatens. “

That would mean according to the rules of the German semantics: Since March 2015 there should be no more arms exports to Saudis and Emiratis.

The Federal Government regularly breaks its armaments principles

But according to the rules of German politics, they did exist, semantically or not. In the year 2017 alone, the Emiratis approved German defense equipment watches worth 214 million euros and the Saudis 254 million euros. Both were thus among the top ten beneficiary countries, despite the principle that no weapons are going to countries involved in hostilities.

It is true that these principles, which the Federal Government regularly breaks, have no legal force. But the government and its leading parties CDU / CSU and SPD have repeatedly claimed that they do not break these principles, but stick to them. For example, the coalition agreement from 2013 stated that they were “binding” for the grand coalition. And in the most recent coalition agreement of February 2018, the old and new governing parties CDU, CSU and SPD were even more diligent: “We are still sharpening our momentum 2018, the arms export guidelines from the year 2000 and respond to the changed circumstances. “

Yes exactly. You guessed it right away. The government has not hitherto sharpened the principles. She did not even comply with them, not even in 2018. Even after the conclusion of the coalition agreement, the Federal Security Council under the chairmanship of Chancellor Angela Merkel released armaments exports for Saudis and Emiratis, warships, warheads and artillery radars. Although Saudis and Emniratis were still involved in “armed clashes” in Yemen. The arms embargo against the Saudis was not imposed by the government in October, because it wanted to be honest – but because of the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But if the government is so insincerely insincere on such a sensitive issue as the billion dollar arms exports, what can one believe?

Let's face it: just because of a lack of knowledge of the official language German, it can not really be.

Read more about the research in the new star, which will be released on Thursday (28.02.),

#GermanArms: Recherche-Alliance reveals German armaments exports in Yemen

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