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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
Saudi Arabia was the world’s biggest buyer of US military arms between 2005 and 2008, and spent over $11.2 billion during the three year period, reports Reuters, citing a research by the US Congress published on December 2. The second biggest buyer during the period was the UAE, which spent $10 billion.
The numbers are not surprising; Saudi Arabia was one of the world’s top 10 military spenders in 2008, according to a report issued earlier this year by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The kingdom spent $38.2 billion on arms last year, securing the ninth position on the list. The five largest military spenders in the world were the US, China, France, the UK and Russia, with Saudi Arabia being the only Middle Eastern country in the top 10.
“Obviously [Saudi Arabia is] a country with a great deal of oil wealth. It’s one of the highest military burdens, at 9.3 percent, which is joint second-highest in the world,” Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Military Expenditure Project at SIPRI, told The Media Line in June this year. “It’s a country that devotes a great deal of its wealth to military spending,” he said.
“One should not assume that being the ninth biggest military spender makes them the ninth most powerful military,” he added.
The UAE too has been stocking up its arms; the country topped the list of arms buyers from the US this year, spending $7.9 billion, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, reports Reuters.