Alwaght- The West Asian developments have been one of the leading points of concern of the global powers, among them Germany which has always set a profit-seeking eye on the region. A set of worries, including the effects of the regional crises on the global energy markets, has been central to the German leaders' approach towards the region, as Berlin imports 97 percent of its oil and 86 percent of its gas from other countries.
In addition to close relations between Germany and the West Asian countries in terms of energy cooperation, the two sides hold considerable ties when it comes to economic give and take. Berlin’s financial transactions with the regional nations in 2013 touched €50 billion ($52 billion). Germany's exports to Saudi Arabia, which include mainly hydrochemical and petrochemical products, and vice versa went beyond respectively 71 and 28 percent. The published trade figures suggest that over the course of last decade the direct German investment in West Asia rose eightfold. The main Germany's investment destinations in the Arab world have been Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Turkey, also a regional state, is far beyond the Arab countries in magnetizing the foreign German investment, which alone exceeds the total Germany’s investment in the whole Arab countries, however.
Military equipment and arms account for the largest part of the Germany's exports to the West Asian countries. With regard to the Germany's 7-percent share from the global weapons market and according to a study published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Berlin ranks third among the major global players of the arms market. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, removed caps on arms exports while the country was living a climactic point of the economic crisis in recent years.
Introducing cuts to the European defense budget as well as tough race on arms sales with other key rivals like the Russians and Chinese have pressed the Germans to authorize sales to non-allied nations. Their deals jumped to €843 million ($892 million) in 2011 from the €180 million ($190.5 million) in 2009. Moreover, nearly 62 percent of the weapons exports of Germany in 2013 were to the same buyers. Germany’s periodic weapons auctions that eye further sales to the majorly authoritarian Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf region have raised questions about Berlin’s arms sale deals, as calls rise urging tougher regulations on the country’s arms exportation.
The SIPRI study finds that between 2009 and 2013, 17 percent of the Germany’s military equipment shipping has been to West Asia. Among others Israeli regime is the oldest purchaser, as it has been engaged in several-decade security collaboration with Germany. The same four-year period saw Tel Aviv receiving 8 percent of the total German arms sold abroad. Germany also in 2012 alone sold €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, raising Riyadh as top global arms buyer of that year.
The controversial sale of light arms– many of them went to the Persian Gulf Arab states, West Asia as a whole, and North Africa– between 2009 and 2013 saw a 50 percent rise. Some reports also reveal that Germany has sent anti-protest equipment such as tear gas and tank spare parts to regional regimes that are widely recognized as brutally putting down the domestic opposition rallies. Germany, in 2013, publicized details of the Leopard-class tanks deal with Qatar, the first time Berlin authorizing tank sales to an Arab country. Germany’s arms sales to regional countries, the analysts note, echo Berlin’s political and economic logic as the Germans need to strengthen their regional allies and at the same time grasp on their share in the Persian Gulf weapons market, the world’s most profitable one.
But recently there have been voices at home rising and calling for limits on Germany’s arms exports out of the moral standards, something strongly objected to by the nation’s arms industries on the one hand and facing benefits of purchase orders of the Persian Gulf buyers who are impatiently waiting for the deals to get the go-ahead.
Particularly in recent years, Israeli regime has been the closest regional ally of Germany. Tel Aviv leaders see Berlin the second major ally after US, as Germany ranks as the second arms supplier of the Israeli regime. It has sold some of military products, like combat submarines, to the Israeli regime, with the price cut nearly by one third of the normal price. Tel Aviv is the only party to get arms from Germany with subsidized price.
The Israeli-German ties are deep enough to allow the experts suggest that Berlin sees Tel Aviv’s interests also in weapons sales to Riyadh. This bolsters the tactical, interest-based Riyadh-Tel Aviv alliance that is cultivated to curb the regional Iranian influence.