Germany is fueling an arms race in northern Africa

German weapons-systems for the enemy states Algeria and Morocco

Regarding the planned sale of a submarine to Morocco, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses the German government of interfering with the balance of power between the enemy states of Morocco and Algeria and of fueling the arms race in the conflict region of northern Africa. To secure a deal in which Germany will also deliver two frigates to Algeria, the Federal Government had recently signed export credit guarantees of more than two billion Euros in total. According to information by the news magazine "Der Spiegel", Algeria is also interested in purchasing 54 light wheeled "Fuchs" tanks from Germany and was planning to build up to 1200 of these vehicles under license.

"It is not only against the principles of German arms export policies to deliver weapon systems to countries that are shaken by civil wars – like Algeria – or to countries like Morocco, which is an occupying power in the region of Western Sahara," said the STP’s Africa-expert, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Monday. "It is especially inhumane to provide two feuding neighbors with weapons from Germany and to stir up a war or a proxy war."

In mid-November of 2012, the STP had already pointed out Morocco’s interest in purchasing a submarine of the series 209/1100 by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Germany – after Moroccan media had reported on the issue on October 30. Since 1967, Germany sold submarines of this type to more than 60 states. Morocco could use the submarine for a naval blockade of the Western Sahara and Algeria. "In Algeria, there are fears that the controversial arms deal will change the balance of power in the region for the benefit of the kingdom of Morocco," said Delius. Algeria had already expressed concerns as early as in 2011, when Morocco ordered 24 US-built F-16 fighter aircraft. The Moroccan defense budget was raised from 836 million Euros in 2008 to almost 2.8 billion Euros in 2011.

Algeria and Morocco have been caught in a struggle for supremacy in northern Africa for years. In the Western Sahara – which is occupied by Morocco – there is a very unstable truce that could break up any day. In the Algerian Kabylie region, armed conflicts between security forces and radical Islamists take place almost every day, so the situation for the Kabyle civilians is close to a civil war. Algeria's government continues to suppress peaceful protests and any effort towards a democratization of the country.