Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest arms importer between 2014–18, with an increase of 192 per cent compared with 2009–13, according to a new annual report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The report also noted that U.S. and other Western weapons sales “are in high demand” in the Middle East, edging out Russia and other global suppliers. “Weapons from the USA, the United Kingdom and France are in high demand in the Gulf region, where conflicts and tensions are rife,” Pieter D. Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program said. “Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years.”
Conversely, arms exports by Russia decreased by 17 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18, in particular due to the reduction in arms imports by India and Venezuela, SIPRI said.