Saturday, February 27, 2010

Arms Sales to Middle East Backfire

Arms sales to Arab countries have been a gold mine for the Dutch government, but now it seems the Netherlands is regretting its choice of trading partners; Dutch armed vehicles may have been used against protesters in the recent uprisings in Egypt and Bahrain. Over the last two decades, the Netherlands has sold 730 million euros worth of surplus arms and material to the Arab world. In addition to Egypt and Bahrain, customers have included Morocco, Qatar, Oman, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The merchandise has consisted of armored personnel carriers (APCs), navy frigates, F-16 fighter jets, anti-tank missiles, radar systems and self-propelled howitzers. The Egyptian and Bahraini armies reportedly used the Dutch APCs against their own people. The vehicles were recognized on photographs made by news channels during the recent protests. The Dutch foreign ministry denies this, saying that it’s not clear whether the APCs in the photographs were actually supplied by the Netherlands.

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