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German army testing Leopard combat tanks in UAE ‎

August 14 2011 at 8:13 AM
  (Premier Login Faz1)
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German army testing Leopard combat tanks in UAE
Berlin, Jul 19, IRNA -- The German army is testing Leopard 2A7+ battle tanks in the United Arab Emirates, a German defense ministry spokesman told German Press Agency dpa here Tuesday.
German army testing Leopard combat tanks in UAE
A four-men tank crew and a field officer have been dispatched to the UAE in late June to test the Leopard tanks.
The testing phase of the German tanks which is to run from late June through the end of July, comes amid plans by Saudi Arabia to purchase 200 Leopard tanks worth billions of euros.
The German government has been under fire over the highly secretive nature of the tank deal in the wake of mounting criticism across the country's political spectrum.
Germany's opposition parties have branded the deal 'scandalous,' saying the Leopard tanks could be deployed by Riyadh to crush internal dissent or in neighboring countries like Bahrain where Saudi troops played a key role in the recent lethal crackdown of the pro-freedom movement in the small Persian Gulf kingdom.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the leading recipients of German weapons.
Meanwhile, German military specialists are also training the 800-member private army of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, according to the Hamburg-based news magazine Der Spiegel.
Retired German soldiers and special operations experts are reportedly playing a key role in forming a new battalion of foreign fighters, comprised of mostly Latin American mercenaries, to carry out special operations, crush internal revolts and defend urban areas and oil fields from terrorist attacks.
The former German troopers, among them ex-members of Germany's elite counter-terror force GSG 9, joined the UAE mercenary army because of its lucrative pay.
In other related news, German public broadcaster MDR reported last month that Germany's federal police were training Saudi security forces in how to clamp down on pro-democracy protests.
According to internal documents, among them contracts and pictures, German police
are preparing Saudi security forces for demonstrations and unrest.
In one video image, German police show how houses can be raided and searched.
Riyadh fears that the popular Arab uprising could seriously endanger the survival of its despotic regime.

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