Arms exports to Egypt: Morally wrong – politically too


Status: December 27, 2021 6:13 p.m.

As a farewell present to the war industry, Egypt exports were quickly waved through – that is also a political mistake, believes Marcel Heberlein. Ultimately, the weapons could also be directed against German soldiers.

A comment by Marcel Heberlein, ARD capital studio

What a departure: As a last official act, the old government of the Union and SPD again waved through fat arms deliveries. 16 air defense systems and three warships are to go to Egypt. Almost five billion euros come together. A farewell present from the old government to the German war industry.

Marcel Heberlein
ARD capital studio

The regime in Egypt tramples on human rights in its own country and ruthlessly persecutes its critics. Egypt has a hand in the wars in the region, in Libya and in Yemen. Deliver weapons there? This is not only morally wrong, but also politically.

By whom the weapons are ultimately used and for what purpose, whether it is in the so often cited “German interest” – that is completely unclear, as is so often the case with weapons. Maybe at some point they will even be directed against German soldiers, who knows.

No surprise

It is a mess that the old government quickly waved through Egypt’s exports. But it’s not a surprise. For years, more than half of German arms exports have been to so-called third countries, i.e. those that are not in the EU or NATO. Algeria, Saudi Arabia or Egypt – the dirty children.

That has to stop. The new traffic light government wants a new law to control arms exports. It’s good. But already there are many norms and guidelines, “respect human rights”, “committed to peace”, blabla.

Binding rules are needed

Ultimately, the government has enormous room for maneuver – as the case of Egypt shows. Binding rules are needed – those that can best be enforced by the political opposition and civil society.

Then Germany’s European partners would also know what to expect. And wouldn’t be surprised every time the federal government objects, for example if jointly developed military equipment is to be sold to Saudi Arabia.

In general: Europe. It doesn’t help if Germany alone creates a better conscience – and sells fewer weapons. And France sells even more for this. The new government must work to ensure that the whole of Europe restricts the sale of arms more. Don’t sell anything to third countries – that should be the goal.

It is precisely this rule that the last small arms government introduced. For example for machine guns and pistols. This shows that where there is a will, there is a way. Will the SPD be just as rigorous with large war equipment? She could have prevented last-minute exports to Egypt. The SPD was also part of the old government. But she did not prevent them. Not a good omen.

Comment on the farewell present from the old government to the armaments industry: Politically and morally wrong

Marcel Heberlein, ARD Berlin, December 27, 2021 4:51 p.m.

Editor’s note

Comments generally reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

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