Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: On the face of it, Saudi Arabia’s reported plan to buy up to 270 Leopard 2E main battle tanks from Spain for $4.17 billion seems odd since Riyadh is expected to get U.S. arms worth $60 billion over the next decade.
Most of those weapons systems are intended to build up the military power of Arab states in the Persian Gulf to counter an expansionist Iran.
But, as Saudi leaders found out when they sent their military to fight rebellious tribes in North Yemen in 2009, they also need weapons to fight insurgencies in rugged terrain.
Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan arrived in Madrid Monday for discussions with Prime Minister Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The Spanish daily El Pais reported Sunday that the Leopard sale was on the agenda. If the deal is signed, it will be a record for Spain’s defense industry.
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