Why Is Germany Selling Tanks to Qatar?

From the September 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

A decade ago, no one was zoning in on Germany’s relationship with the Middle East—because there was nothing to report. Even today, the topic is still at the edge of the collective radar. But the scattered blips of evidence are becoming more and more frequent, and, if you are aware of what to expect in the Middle East, they are beginning to form a pattern.

The most important trend in this relationship traces back to the “Merkel Doctrine.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unofficial policy works by leveraging Germany’s weapons exports to Middle Eastern countries. The goal of these arms deals is more than just profits; it’s also to influence foreign policy and, ultimately, to build an alliance that will stand up against Iran.

On July 29, it emerged that Qatar intends to purchase up to 200 Leopard tanks from a German firm. The deal is potentially worth $2.5 billion, and comes on the heels of a possible contract with Saudi Arabia for 600 to 800 Leopards. The Qatar deal is yet to be approved by Germany’s Federal Security Council, but with the Merkel administration’s backing, the chances of it passing are good.

Spiegel reported, “Merkel has been making quiet changes to Berlin’s arms exports policy. Instead of intervening in conflicts, she wants to help arm certain countries to provide stability in crisis regions.” Merkel has never had to give account to the German public for this significant change; nonetheless, Spiegel said that the Merkel Doctrine “has altered central premises of Germany’s foreign and security policies.”

Of course, many other Western countries also export weapons, but none figures into Bible prophecy in the Middle East the way that Germany does.