UK Machine Gun Exports to the Middle East

Following the democractic uprisings in the Middle East, and the violent suppression of these, the UK was embarrassed by its recent arms sales to several authoritarian regimes.

It is difficult to get detailed information about arms sales, but this  BBC article provides some clues.

For example, in 2009 several countries received ‘machine guns’ from UK exporters. If we assume that these are heavy machine guns, as opposed to ‘sub machine guns’ and if we assume that these are not reexported from other sources, then there are relatively few UK sources of heavy machine guns.

Egypt, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates received machine guns or components of machine guns. Qatar received ‘heavy machine guns’, of which there is apparently only one UK manufacturer. All these countries were undemocratic autocracies in 2009.

Confirmation of the details of these arms sales is difficult.



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