Nearly 50% of all the arms that are exported by the United States in the last half a decade have gone to the war-torn and volatile Middle East. A report has indicated that Saudi Arabia is the second largest importer of American arms in the entire world. On Monday, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said that the worldwide transfer of weapons systems in the years 2013 to 2017 increased by over 10%. This statistic was in comparison to the previous five-year period. The global transfer of arms has been experiencing an upward trend which started 20 years ago. The United States is the most significant exporter in the world saw its weapon’s sales between those two consecutive periods by over 25%.
The US exported weapons to more than 98 countries all around the world which represents about 33% of the global arms exports. The Russian Federation, which ranks second in the list of weapons exporters saw a decrease of 7% in its volumes of weapons exports. American exports were 58% higher as compared to those of the Russian Federation. Among the top five exporters were China, Germany, and France. The United Kingdom came sixth in the list of the world’s largest weapons exporters. The director of the arms and military expenditure SIPRI program, Dr. Aude Fleurant, said that the American weapons deliveries between 2013 and 2017 reached their highest levels during the Obama administration since the 90s.
Fleurant added that the signing of more deals and contracts would ensure that the United States remains the most significant arms exporter from 2017 going forward. The Middle East, which has experienced war in most countries in the region in the last five years, accounts for 32% of the world imports regarding weapons. Between the years 2013 and 2017, the exports in the other areas increased by over 100% and in the five-year period preceding 2013. The leading suppliers of arms to the Middle East were France, the US, and the United Kingdom. The primary recipients of these weapons in the region include the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
The United Kingdom exported nearly 50% of all its weapons to Riyadh. Just last week, the Saudi Crown Prince received a state visit to the UK capital of London. Saud Arabia has in the past five years increased its arms imports by 225%. Riyadh uses the imported weapons in large-scale military operations in the region such as in Yemen.