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Arms sales to Middle East

Feb 2013 IDEX Arms Fair in Abu Dhabi. Thales display radar systems, MBDA show off ( and sell)missiles and BAE take Bradley fighting vehicles. Raytheon sell GBU bombs to UAE.

Jan 2013 MBDA demonstrate Aspide missile system to Kuwait Government.

Dec 2012 BAE Systems clinch sale of £2.5 billion worth of Typhoons to Oman.

July 2012 Finmeccanica sold ‘dual use’ equipment to Syria in Feb 2012.

Jan 2012 Cameron visits Gulf to promote BAE Tyhoon sales

LIST OF MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES: Overall summary of UK sales up to end of 2011, using map from Guardian datablog  and CAAT data set.        See Guardian comment ‘When tyrants want tear gas’

Within the Middle East region Saudi Arabia remains the highest spender on arms with £45 billion in 2011.

ALGERIA:   Total value of 5 UK military  export licences  from Oct09 – Oct10 Including Combat helicopters.          £270 million

Total value of controlled export licences Nov10 – Dec11   £291.5 million

BAHRAIN: Total value of 45 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including aircraft parts, assault rifles, tear gas, ammunition.£3.06 million

Total value of controlled export licences   Nov10 to Dec11  £30.1million

UKTI DSO has listed Bahrain as a key market for UK arms exports.

    • Bahrain was invited to attend the UK arms fairs: the Farnborough Airshow in 2010 and Defence and Security Equipment International in 2009. UKTI DSO supported the Bahrain International Airshow 2010, where it organised an outdoor event.
    • 13th Dec 2011 Cameron talks to King Hamad Isa al-Khalifa after report confirms mass torture of pro-democracy protestors which is an embarrassment to the UK and US who have been outraged by human rights abuses in Libya and Syria but less critical when comes to their ally ( arms purchaser) in Bahrain.
    • Arms sales continue regardless. The Bahrain International Airshow   on 17th Jan 2012 kicks of the New Year with an opportunity for the arms companies to show off their wares in the cash rich world of the Middle East.

EGYPT: Total value of 31 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including bombs, missiles, body armour.     £4.01 million

Total controlled export licences Nov10- dec11  £54.65 million

US selling arms to Egypt to use against protestors says Amnesty

IRAQ: Total value of 31 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including body armour, weapon sights,gunparts.   £4.77 million 

Total value of controlled export licences    Nov10 – Dec11  £51.75 million

ISRAEL: Total value of 91 UK military  export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including armoured plate,gas mask filters, signaling and radar equipment. £4.64 million

Total value controlled export licences Nov10 – Dec11    £90.5 million

JORDAN: Total value of 51 UK military  export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including armoured vehicles, gun parts, gas mask filters. £11.99 million 

Total  value controlled export licences   Nov10 – Dec11   £86.35 million

KUWAIT: Total value of 38 UK military export  licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including anti riot shields, patrol boats, military software. £6.47 million
29th Dec 2011 Washington approves sale of 200 Patriot missiles to Kuwait.

Total value controlled export licences   Nov10 – Dec11  £60.7 million

LEBANON: Total value of 5 UK military export licences from Oct 09 – Oct10 Including body armour, shotguns. £0.78 million

Total value controlled export licences  Nov11 – Dec12     £13.28 million

LIBYA: Total value of 25 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including ammunition, crowd control equipment, tear gas. £33.9 million

Total value controlled export licences Nov10 – Dec11   £305.7 million

Libya provides a fascinating case study of UK government policies on selling arms to dictatorships. It demonstrates that the UK happily sells arms to repressive regimes until it is prohibited from doing so, while preparing the ground for new sales when the barriers are lifted.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Libya was treated as a pariah state, because of its aggressive and unpredictable activities at home and abroad. In the late 1990s, the Libyan stance became more conciliatory, for example taking responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, and western countries softened their stance. Tony Blair’s so-called “deal in the desert” with Colonel Gaddafi in March 2004 opened the way for the deals that really mattered – contracts in oil, construction and arms. The arms embargo was duly lifted in October 2004.The UK wooed the Libyans with ardour in the following years. Blair continued to visit Libya, signing an Accord on a Defence Cooperation and Defence Industrial Partnership in 2007. Prince Andrew made three visits. The recent Woolf report revealed that arms giant BAE seconded a staff member to assist Saif Gaddafi’s admission to the London School of Economics.

The end of the arms embargo saw sales begin to flow, although not as fast or as frequently as companies had hoped. 2005 was a good year with £41 million worth of deals but the following years were much leaner. Then, in 2009, over £27 million military and dual-use materials were licenced for sale. In 2010 the figure reached £217 million.

Some contracts were large. MBDA, in which BAE has a 37.5% stake, was awarded a £147 million contract for anti-tank missiles and £122 million for a related communications system. In 2007 the UK arm of UK General Dynamics signed an £85 million contract for tank communications systems with the ‘Khamis Brigade’, the elite unit led by Colonel Gaddafi’s son Kham.

Many licences were for smaller items. For example, in the third quarter of 2010 military equipment approved for export included wall and door breaching projectile launchers and ammunition for crowd control,  small arms and tear gas/irritants. In fact, “ammunition” accounted for £3.2 million  of the £4.7 million of military items licensed. In the final quarter of 2010 almost half a million pounds of small arms were exported. Not one individual licence was refused.

These last months of 2010 were busy ones for arms exporters and their DSO allies in Tripoli. The UK exhibited at two arms fairs in Libya in October and November, issuing temporary licences for the exhibits. Such was their enthusiasm that the UK had the largest pavilion at Tripoli’s Libyan Defence and Security Exhibition (LibDex). Top army brass were invited to visit the UK to view military equipment.  No doubt exporters were looking forward to further buoyant sales

MOROCCO:  Total value of 18 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including thermal imaging, swarming ropes, bomb making parts.    £1.15 million

Total value controlled export licences   Nov10 – Dec11   £16.55 million

OMAN: Total value of 98 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including parts for combat aircraft, unmanned drones, and tanks. £9.36 million

Total value controlled export licences  Nov 2010 – Dec 2011  £436 million

 May 2012 BAE Systems has submitted proposal for sale of 12 Eurofighters including 5 year support and pilot training.

QATAR: Total value of  22 UK military export licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including crowd control ammunition, missile parts, military cargo vehicles. £3.87 million

Total value controlled export licences  Nov 2010 – Dec 2011  £27 million

SAUDIA ARABIA: Total value of 98 Uk military licences from Oct09 – Oct10 Including armoured personnel vehicles, 4 wheel drive vehicles, air surveillance equipment. £64.3 million

Total value of controlled licences      Nov 10 – Dec 11      £3.979 billion
24th Dec 2011 US approves £39billion sales of aircraft and missile systems.

May 2012 BAE to sell training jets to Saudi Air Force

SYRIA: Total value of 1 UK military licence from Oct09 – Oct10 For small arms ammunition. £0.03 million

Total value controlled export licences  2010 – Dec2011  £5.7 million

Dec 2011 Syria gets its shore batteries of 72 supersonic P-800/SS-N-26 Yakhont missiles, in the midst of a growing civil war with demonstrators and a Turkish-supported Free Syrian Army.

TUNISIA: Total value of 10 Uk military licences from Oct09 – Oct10 For radar equipment, gun parts. £0.13 million

Total value controlled export licences  Oct 2010 – Dec 2011  £16.9 million

UNITED  ARAB  EMURATES: Total value of 152 UK military licences Oct09 – Oct10 Including software, heavy machine guns, weapon sights. £15.89million

Total value controlled export licences     Oct 2010 – Dec 2011    £1.97 billion

Dec 2011 As part of its Economic Vision 2030, the Abu Dhabi Government is trying to diversify away from oil to grow the emirate’s economy. Florent Duleux, the vice president for Middle East export sales for the missile systems company MBDA,  talks about the company’s push to be a part of the local defence industry

29th Dec 2011   Washington approves $3.5 billion sale of missiles to UAE.
Jan 7 2012  Intelligence Online reported Thursday that a contract for a satellite built by Astrium would be finalized within the next few months, pushing forward the Emirates’ drive to boost its military capability to counter Iran’s expansionist policy and nuclear ambitions.

YEMEN: Total value of 4 UK military licences Oct09 – Oct10 Including body armour, ammunition. £0.16 million

Total value controlled  export licences     Oct2010 – Dec 2011  £4.7 million


Saudi Arabia

The Associated Press, 13/03/2011 Leaked cable shows details of BAE Saudi arms deal

LONDON (AP) — British-based defense contractor BAE Systems PLC bribed Saudi officials in return for lucrative arms deals in Saudi Arabia, according to a newly released secret U.S. diplomatic cable.

Britain’s anti-fraud agency told a private OECD meeting in Paris in 2007 that it had evidence that BAE, Europe’s largest defense contractor, paid more than 70 million pounds ($113 million) to a Saudi prince with influence over a series of contracts for fighter jets with Saudi Arabia, said the cable from the U.S. embassy in Paris, released by WikiLeaks website on Friday.

The Serious Fraud Office’s then-deputy director Helen Garlick told the meeting that other “substantial” payments were made to an unnamed senior Saudi official and to overseas agents employed by the Saudi government, according to the cable, dated March 2007.

The SFO also “discovered false representations by BAE to conceal the corrupt dealings, which would constitute conspiracy to defraud under U.K. law,” the cable said.

BAE did not explicitly refute the cable’s content on Sunday, but said in a statement that no charges of bribery or corruption were made against the company. It also said it has enhanced its compliance policies to ensure responsible conduct.

The overseas dealings of BAE have long been under scrutiny for corruption. The SFO began probing its contracts in the 1980s, including allegations of bribery for the contracts with Saudi Arabia, but in 2006 dropped that investigation because of Saudi objection.

According to the cable released on Friday, Jonathan Jones, a member of the British delegation to the Paris meeting, said the probe had to be discontinued because the U.K. could not afford to lose the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, which was a key source of intelligence on al-Qaida.

Last year, BAE agreed to pay record fines totaling around US$450 million in Britain and the United States in a deal with authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to settle long-running corruption allegations relating to its overseas contracts. The company pleaded guilty to failing to disclose information to the U.S. government, as well as failure to keep proper accounting records about payments it made to a former marketing adviser in Tanzania.

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