UK made armoured vehicles sent into Bahrain
Saudi Arabia uses UK-made armoured vehicles in Bahrain crackdown on democracy protesters
The armoured vehicles, marketed as Tacticas, were manufactured by BAE Systems Land Systems Division in Newcastle Upon Tyne
The Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) ordered 261 of the vehicles in 2006 for delivery in 2008. Saudi forces entered Bahrain in a convoy of the Tacticas on 14 March, at the invitation of the Bahrain’s ruling al-Khalifa family. It seems that the Saudi forces are being held in reserve, leaving the front-line repression of protesters by Bahrain’s military and security forces.
Saudi Arabia has been a major market for market for UK arms since the 1960s. The majority of contracts have been through the controversial Al-Yamamah arms deals of the mid-1980s, and their successor, the Salam Project, which involved arms giant BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace). However, the Tactica purchase was not part of either package but a separate contract with SANG.
Bahrain is also a market for UK arms. In the first nine months of 2010, the UK approved export licenses for over £5 million worth of arms including tear gas and crowd control ammunition, equipment for the use of aircraft cannons, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles and sub-machine guns. In response to an earlier crackdown, on 18 February 2011 the UK government revoked 24 individual licences and 20 open licences to Bahrain.
Kaye Stearman for CAAT says:
BAE’s contract to supply the Tactica has been hidden in the shadow of their massive Al Yamamah arms deals but it still runs into millions of pounds worth of lethal weaponry. It is shameful that a British manufactured armoured vehicle is being used by Saudi Arabia to support repression of peaceful protest in a neighbouring country. CAAT calls for an immediate arms embargo on the Middle East and an end to arms exports to all repressive regimes.