Commentary \ The Libyan civil war: Shining a spotlight on a problematic arms export policy.

Release date: 2020-06

The German government always emphasises its "restrictive arms export policy". However, the states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) are among the biggest customers of German arms producers. In their comments, Max Mutschler (BICC) and Simone Wisotzki (HSFK) criticise in particular German arms exports to states which—as in the case of Libya—violate UN arms embargoes.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among the top 10 recipients of German arms exports in 2017, and Turkey is also a regular buyer of German weapons technology. An expert report on the implementation of UN Resolution 1973 names the recipient countries UAE, Turkey and Jordan, among others, as states that supply equipment and weapons to various warring parties in Libya. In doing so, they are breaking the UN arms embargo imposed since 2011 (

International rules on the arms and armaments trade regard the breach of a UN arms embargo as a particularly heavy liability with regard to future arms exports. If the Federal government is serious about its self-proclaimed role as a supporter of the rule-based international order, it must no longer approve arms exports to states that violate a UN arms embargo—as Egypt, the UAE, Jordan and Turkey are doing in Libya.