The GCC countries, especially Saudi and the UAE, have been spending huge amounts on buying defense equipment, and according to analysts, the spending spree could continue.
December 17, 2009 1:11 by Aarti Nagraj
“The financial muscle of countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel is enabling the Middle East to keep spending a huge chunk of their GDP on defense,” Gautam Ganapathy, the lead author of the study said in a report. “Although countries in the Middle East have relatively less number of active troops compared to the nations in the west, the ratio of their defense spending to that of their total GDP is highest in the world.”
According to Balaji Srimoolanathan, research manager, Aerospace and Defence at Frost & Sullivan, the defense spending by the GCC countries has been consistent over the last few years. “This is resulting in tremendous market opportunity for defense companies worldwide. Internal security issues will also drive the Middle East defense market in the years to come,” he said in the report.
“Threats including those from Iran or the instability surrounding Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, and most recently Yemen certainly add to the need of Gulf states to review their defense policy,” Christian Koch, director of international studies at the Gulf Research Center told Zawya Dow Jones last month.
During the recent GCC Summit in Kuwait, the countries also agreed to form a united task force to deal with emergency situations in the region.
The unit will intervene in situations similar to the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia earlier this year, Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, the GCC secretary-general, told reporters. ”The force will be one of the pillars that will support stability and security in the region,” he said.