Canadian-made armoured vehicles enter Bahrain

Advance video to 2:23 to see suspected Canadian-made light armoured vehicles.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sent troops into neighbouring Bahrain on Monday in an effort to shore up the Bahraini government, which has been facing escalating demands for democratic reform. An estimated 1200 soldiers from the Saudi National Guard and 800 from the UAE entered the country from Saudi Arabia, ostensibly to help protect public infrastructure (Ethan Bronner & Michael Slackman, “Saudi Troops Enter Bahrain to Help Put Down Unrest,” New York Times, 14 March 2011).

The video above shows Saudi humvees, troop trucks, other support vehicles, and light armoured vehicles (LAVs) driving into Bahrain.

During the 1990s and early 2000s Canada sold more than 1200 LAVs built by General Motors Diesel Division (now General Dynamics Land Systems Canada) of London, Ontario to the Saudi National Guard.

As arms trade critics such as Project Ploughshares have long pointed out, the Saudi National Guard exists primarily to ensure the continued dominance of the Saudi royal family, and there has always been a great danger that equipment sold to the National Guard would end up used against Saudi civilians. Such arguments of course had little or no effect on the Canadian politicians and officials in charge of controlling Canadian arms sales.

It now appears that the National Guard’s Canadian-built LAVs will also be used to try to prevent democracy in Bahrain.

In 2009 General Dynamics Land Systems received a $2.2-billion contract to supply an additional 724 LAVs to an “unidentified” foreign buyer, universally understood to be once again the Saudi National Guard. Deliveries of those vehicles are supposed to begin next month.

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4 Responses to “Canadian-made armoured vehicles enter Bahrain”

  1. G. W. MarkleMarch 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    An Economical Perspective On The Fundamentals Of Economics:

    The Economist:

    Economists are a conservative group of people; their view of the world is strictly numerical. Everything must balance; the numbers rule and must always travel in the direction of growth. Positive numbers are the only indication of success, negative ones spell failure. Simple, cold, divested of emotion, free from moral reasoning, the numbers dictate.

    This philosophy is one of acquisition, conquest, and profit at any cost, fostering a distorted sense of entitlement in an effort to sustain growth. All oppression, slavery and war were born out of an economic model based on unlimited growth, the quest for more. Greed.

    Is it any coincidence that arms manufacturers are conservative economists? It’s in their financial interest for war to continue and escalate. The numbers must grow at all cost. This is the rule the economist must live and die by, and the sin they must bear, a prisoner of the numbers.

  2. Alvin LeeMarch 15, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    This is just the kind of development that follows inevitably from Canadian governments `creating jobs and helping the Canadian economy’ by encouraging the defense industry. It’s a short step from there to making Canadian economic prosperity dependent on there being wars and fears of war. More often than not the wars made possible or likely by such trade are not anything we the Canadian public would back in any way, including the current use of tanks made in London, Ontario, to quell a democratic uprising against dictatorship in Bahrain.

    Wake up.


  1. Principled PM to sell more LAVs to dictators? | - June 14, 2011

    […] the very well-heeled dictator who runs Saudi Arabia, even though that same dictator has been using previously delivered Canadian LAVs to help the dictator of Bahrain suppress public demands for democracy in that […]

  2. Stop arms shipments to Saudi Arabia: Rideau Institute | - March 21, 2011

    […] Among the vehicles used by the Saudi troops are light armoured vehicles that appear to have come from Canada. More than 1200 LAVs built by General Motors Diesel Division (now General Dynamics Land Systems Canada) of London, Ontario were sold to the Saudi Arabian National Guard in the 1990s and early 2000s. (See report here.) […]