Qatar is set to purchase 118 Leopard tanks and 16 tank howitzers from Germany in preparation for hosting the 2022 World Cup.
German newspaper Bild am Sonntag made the announcement Sunday claiming the oil-rich nation will pay several billion dollars to German defense manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and defense tech group Rheinmetall.
The deal comes after the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel approved the initial purchase of 62 Leopard tanks and 24 howitzers this past spring.
Arms exportation has long been a sensitive issue in Germany. After World War Two, West German and united German governments placed tight restrictions on arms exports, especially to regions where there were armed conflicts or which had poor human rights records.
Over time, however, restrictions have laxed and now Merkel’s opposition in the upcoming Chancellor election set for this September, Social Democrat Peer Steinbrueck, is claiming that if he wins he will put the clamps on the current arms export surge.
As to Qatar, the decision to ramp up security appears to be a reactionary move to the increasing number of violent incidents surrounding world football, and, in particular Brazil, as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup next June.