Saudi Arabia top weapons importer in the world

2014 military budget rose 54% to USD 6.5 bln

09 March, 16:51

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    (by Alessandra Antonelli)

    (ANSAmed) - DUBAI - Saudi Arabia took the place of India as top arms importer in the world last year at 6.5 billion dollars. IHS, a provider of global market and economic information, said in its annual defense report that the country had seen a 54% rise in military investment and that this percentage was expected to remain almost stable (52%) this year, with spending at 9.8 billion dollars. One out of every seven dollars spent worldwide on military imports was spent by Saudi Arabia last year, according to the report. Geopolitical rifts, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and financial availability due to oil wealth despite a sharp drop in oil prices spurred a purchasing policy that reflects a new consolidation of the Saudi kingdom as a leading, hegemonic player in the region. Close to it both geographically and politically, the UAE follows Riyadh in military spending. The two countries invested a combined total of 8.7 billion in defense systems and apparatuses: more than all East European nations put together. The Middle East, riven by conflicts and tensions from one edge to the other - from Libya to Yemen, passing through Syria and Iraq - was one of the reasons driving global military spending to a turnover of almost 65 billion dollars, and which consolidated the US and Russia as the two top exporters of defense materiel. Italy is in sixth place worldwide of top defense exporters, after France, the UK and Germany, followed bu Israel. China, Spain and Canada. Finmeccanica is the tenth top exporting company worldwide. The Middle East, the region with the highest concentration of conflicts, spent 120 billion dollars, according to the Paramount Group, some 12% more than the previous year. A decisive role was played by the Gulf monarchies, both due to the size of their military budgets and their growing incisiveness in the regional scenario. They are now actively taking part in operations and not just funding them, such as in the case of UAE and Bahraini airstrikes against ISIS targets. (ANSAmed).

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