The International Business Times – 2016-02-26 01:03:09
Saudi Arabia And Qatar Nearly Triple Arms Imports
Amid ISIS Threats And Syria, Yemen Wars
Michael Kaplan / The International Business Times
(February 23, 2016) — Saudi Arabia and Qatar have boosted arms imports by more than 275 percent in the last four years, according to a report published recently by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which monitors the global weapons trade.
The increased spending on weapons comes as both Middle Eastern countries have grown deeply entangled in regional military conflicts, including in Yemen and Syria.
Gulf States were the most significant markets for US weapons sales between 2011 and 2015, Middle East Eye reported, citing the report. While weapon imports by European states fell by 41 percent in the same time period, the sharp increase in weapon sales to Arab states sent the global arms trade rocketing by 14 percent. Saudi Arabia is today the greatest importer of arms, while the US remained globally the largest exporter.
9.7 percent of US arms deals went to Saudi Arabia, while 9.1 percent were with the United Arab Emirates. In the past year, Saudi Arabia has signed a number of multi-billion-dollar deals with Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense company.
Saudi Arabia’s military defense spending has persisted despite a massive budget deficit stemming from plummeting oil prices. The government has recently announced significant spending cuts, as well as plans to diversify the economy and generate revenue through sectors other than oil.
The kingdom has led a controversial military campaign against Houthi fighters in Yemen, who are believed to be backed by Iran. Critics charge the Saudi-led coalition of inflicting enormous casualties among civilians. At the same time, the country is also involved in a US-led campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria.
Last week, Saudi Arabia sent warplanes to Turkey’s southern Incirlik airbase, a move seen as preparation for a possible ground offensive against the extremist group, also known as ISIS.
Earlier this week, a state-controlled Turkish military company and a Saudi Arabian business, also state-affiliated, signed a joint venture deal to cooperate on enhancing military technology. The venture will focus on radars, electronic warfare suites and electro-optical technology. Each company will hold a 50 percent stake in the deal.
Global Arms Trade: Russia, US Grow Already
Massive Share Of Major Weapons Exports;
China Replaces Germany At No. 3
International Business Times
(February 22, 2016) — A Swedish nonprofit says five countries were responsible for nearly three-fourths of all major weapons sales from 2011 to 2015, with the US and Russia growing their share of that pie to nearly 60 percent.
Rising demand from emerging Asian economies coupled by a virtual arms race in the Middle East led by Saudi Arabia has spurred a 14 percent jump in the sale of weapons systems, from fighter jets to missile defense modules, according to a study released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The US remains by far the biggest arms merchant on the planet and outpaced its traditional rival Russia in the business of arming states against internal and external security threats.
“As regional conflicts and tensions continue to mount, the USA. remains the leading global arms supplier by a significant margin,” Aude Fleurant, director of SIPRI’s military expenditures program, said in a statement.
“The USA. has sold or donated major arms to at least 96 states in the past five years, and the US arms industry has large outstanding export orders, including for a total of 611 F-35 combat aircraft to 9 states.”
The latest export and import data shows the ebb and flow of major arms, like fighter jets, missile systems, large-caliber firearms, sea vessels and ground combat vehicles.
Saudi Arabia, a major buyer, imports weapons largely from the US, but also the UK and Spain. Poorer Asian countries rely more heavily on China. India relies heavily on Russia while also buying weapons systems from its former colonizer, Britain, and Italy.
Germany, which was No. 3 in the previous five-year study, has been replaced by China, as Europe’s largest economy scaled back on exports. Though German exports have risen recently, Berlin has implemented a more restrictive arms policy in a bid to reduce its role contributing weapons that help fuel regional conflicts.
As a result, German exports fell by more than half in the five years ending in 2015 compared with the previous five years.
Defense contractors in the US, Russia and China have been happy to fill the void left by Germany.
The US increased its sales by 27 percent, thanks largely to demand from Saudi Arabia, which ranked No. 2 among the world’s largest importers from 2011 to 2015, and from the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. Russia’s sales grew by 14 percent thanks largely to India, the world’s top arms importer.
China sales jumped 88 percent on demand from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, but the world’s second-largest economy still makes up only 6 percent of all major arms exports, the same as France.
The US makes up a third of the global major arms trade and is also Germany’s top customer.
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