Lav-3s, the workhorse of Canada's Afghan war, used to crush dissent in Bahrain

Canadian Lav-3s, military transports made famous in the Afghan war, have been sold en mass to the Saudi military, which used them to help brutally suppress dissent in neighbouring Bahrain.

Postmedia reported Friday that the Canadian government approved more than $4 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia—a repressive monarchy with a poor human rights record—last year. That puts the Saudi kingdom tops among customers for Canadian weapons:

(T)he total in government-approved arms export licences for Saudi Arabia was more than 100 times the $35 million approved in 2010.

The Middle Eastern kingdom also has quietly purchased hundreds of LAV-3s from General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ont., over the years and was expected to receive more than 700 last year.


Video and photos shot by protesters and media outlets in March 2011 showed Saudi troops using LAV-3s to suppress an uprising inspired by events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and opposed to Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.