Back in 2018, Berlin vetoed the transfer of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, partly Jamal Khashoggi the killing of a Saudi journalist, partly because of Saudi involvement in the Yemeni civil war.
The Typhoons are manufactured by a pan-European consortium of Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, and any of these countries can veto the export of the fighters.
According to Financial Times sources
the changing situation in the Middle East, pressure from partner countries, and changes in the assessment of Saudi Arabia’s regional stabilization role began to transform the way of thinking in Berlin.
The Middle East region has long been characterized by the rivalry between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. The desert kingdom has been approaching Israel for years, and Hamas’s action may have been partly aimed at preventing this approach. Iran is one of the main supporters of Hamas and Israel’s main enemy in the region.
Olaf Scholz in the government coalition, the Greens most strongly oppose the export of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, this was even included in the coalition agreement. At the same time, the shells of the Scholz cabinet have been trying to get the ban lifted for quite some time. In July, the chancellor even ruled out that the Typhoons could ever head for Riyadh.
However Boris Pistorius defense minister, Scholz himself, and the smallest governing party, the liberal FDP
now they want to seize the opportunity to take advantage of the conflict in the Middle East to put the topic back on the agenda.
The main question now is whether the argument that Saudi Arabia is playing a stabilizing role in the region works.
It complicates the matter that Turkey wants to buy 40 Typhoons, and it would not look good that Berlin gives Riyadh the green light, while Ankara does not. Meanwhile, London’s pressure on Berlin to lift the veto is also increasing.
Cover photo: Olaf Scholz looks at a Eurofighter Typhoon. Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images