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Weapon deliveries to third countries

It is easy to argue against German military action on foreign soil. But to deliver weapons into conflict areas is the one of the worst imaginable alternatives, how the German government can pursue its foreign policy. Although the number of German arms exports has not been rising significantly over the last years, weapon deliveries to third countries like Mexico or Saudi Arabia constitute two-thirds of it.1 Obviously, it is a dangerous development as human rights violations, in particular against dissidents or other minorities, happen regularly in these countries.2

This year in May, Heckler & Koch, a German arms manufacturer, admitted for the first time that two employees had illegally delivered weapons to conflict areas in Mexico.3 The upper management of the company has since distanced itself from the actions of the involved employees. But it has to be mentioned as well that Heckler & Koch has been suspected of delivering weapons illegally to third countries for many years, therefore it is unlikely that only these two members of staff are involved.4

In consideration of the War on Drugs in Mexico, it is obvious that weapon deliveries to conflict areas like this one, where 70.000 people have died already in consequence of the War on Drugs over the last seven years, are irresponsible.5

Furthermore, the inconsistency of the demands of the German government becomes clear. On the one hand side, the government condemns the violence recently caused by the Arab Spring and refuses to support the rebels with weapons due to the imminent danger of human rights abuses. But on the other hand side, the government is convinced that weapon exports to third countries are legitimate instruments of foreign policies. But afterwards everyone is surprised when German weapons are used in conflict areas like Mexico, Syria or Saudi Arabia.

Because of this approach a solution could be to supervise weapon deliveries into conflict areas by parliament. Like that the number of German arms in conflict areas, which often lead to human rights abuse, could be reduced.6


  1. Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik – BMWi – aufgerufen am 16.07.13 []
  2. Informationen Saudi-Arabien – Auswärtiges Amt – aufgerufen am 16.07.13 []
  3. HK gibt illegale Exporte zu – TAZ – aufgerufen am 16.07.13 []
  4. Sturmgewehre von Heckler & Koch für mexikanischen Bandenkrieg – SZ – aufgerufen am 16.07.13 []
  5.  Blutiges Mexiko: Reise in das Land der Drogenkrieger – FOCUS – aufgerufen am 17.07.13 []
  6. Welche Rolle spielt der Bundessicherheitsrat? – SPIEGEL ONLINE – aufgerufen am 16.07.13 []