GRüne and FDP are appalled that the Bundeswehr is to get its future standard assault rifle from the company CG Haenel in Suhl, Thuringia. The reason: Haenel belongs to a state-owned company from the United Arab Emirates, and they are involved in a bloody military intervention in Yemen. Tobias Lindner, the chairman of the Greens in the Defense Committee of the Bundestag, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) that this project was “madness”. By buying 120,000 rifles from Haenel, Germany would “finance the war in Yemen”.
Political correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.
Lindner pointed out that the procurement could still be stopped. The final decision would have to be made by the budget committee, and if it found that the connection to the United Arab Emirates “is not justifiable”, the Bundestag would say no. “Then the process is back to zero.”
The defense policy spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, also announced that Haenel’s connection with the Emirates caused her “a strong feeling of disturbance”. She finds it “very worrying” that the future German standard rifle “should come from a country that is waging war in Yemen”.
At the CDU, whose chairman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is at the head of the Ministry of Defense, one sees it differently. The deputy parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul, for example, points out that Arab states are involved in many German companies, for example in Daimler. Something like this is “not a reason for exclusion”, because the Emirates are “despite some differences, our country’s cooperation partners”. The defense political group spokesman Henning Otte argued similarly and also recalled that VW also had an Arab co-owner. Karl Lamers, deputy chairman of the defense committee, said it was “more often the case that investors from all over the world are involved in such companies”. For him it is important “that our soldiers get a good rifle and that the price is good”. For the CSU, the MP Florian Hahn said he found it “very far-fetched” that the intended appointment could finance the war in Yemen.
The company CG Haenel, the successor to the Suhl-based “VEB Ernst Thälmann”, is now owned by the state-owned company Caracal from the United Arab Emirates. According to the United Nations, 8,000 civilians have been killed in the past five years in the war that the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are waging in Yemen. It is considered the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.
The MK556 rifle from Suhl is intended to replace today’s standard weapon of the German armed forces, the G36 from Heckler & Koch. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense told the FAS that his house was strongly bound by the tendering law in the preliminary decision. Only the quality and the price of the offer should have been taken into account. In purely legal terms, the ownership structure of the bidding companies should not play a role in the selection.