Germany arrests mercenaries who tried to sell their services to Saudi Arabia

Yemeni Civil War

AUTHORITIES IN GERMANY HAVE pressed terrorism charges against two former soldiers, who tried to establish a mercenary army and place it in the service of Saudi Arabia, with the ultimate goal of fighting in Yemen. The two men were arrested following police raids in the southern German city of Munich and the southwestern district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, near Switzerland. They were identified in a government press release only as “Arend-Adolf G.” and “Acim A.”, in accordance with strict German privacy laws.

German government prosecutors described the two former soldiers as the “ringleaders” of a plan to recruit up to 150 men with prior military and law enforcement experience. Their ultimate goal was to establish “a private army” that would offer its services to the government of Saudi Arabia. The two alleged ringleaders allegedly hoped that the oil kingdom wound task them with carrying out illegal operations in Yemen. This would allow Riyadh to deny any involvement in these operations, if the German mercenaries were captured while fighting in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been involved in the Yemeni Civil War since 2015. Riyadh’s involvement seeks to support the country’s Sunni-dominated government against the Shia-majority Houthi separatists. The Yemeni government is also supported by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, while the United States has at times assisted the Saudi effort. The Houthi movement is believed to receive assistance from Iran. Over 100,000 people, most of them civilians, have perished so far in the war, which has been raging since 2014.

German government prosecutors allege that the two mercenary ringleaders hoped to convince the Saudi government to compensate each member of their private army with over $45,000 per month for their services. However, their efforts to attract the attention of the Saudi government and intelligence agencies were unsuccessful. Instead, they drew the attention of the German Military Counterintelligence Service, which alerted the police. The two men are now awaiting their pre-trial hearing, which is expected to take place next week.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 October 2021 | Permalink

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