Wednesday 16 October 2019

Arms flow into West Asia dangerously rises: Study

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has found that arms sales to West Asia have grown by 87 percent over the past five years, with Saudi Arabia topping the list of importers.

As Reported by Qods News Agency (Qodsna) The SIPRI said in a report on Sunday that Saudi Arabia’s arms imports in 2014-2018 increased by 192 percent, compared to the preceding five years, becoming the world’s top arms importer.


Other countries at the top of the list of global arms buyers included Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. The institute measures the volume of deliveries of arms, not the dollar value of deals.


According to the report, arms sales to West Asia now account for more than a third of the global trade.


The defense think-tank’s annual survey also showed how the United States and European countries sell jets, jeeps and other

gear used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher with SIPRI, told Middle East Eye.


“Weapons from the US, the UK and France are in high demand in the Persian Gulf, where conflicts and tensions are rife. Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years,” he said.  


Wezeman attributed the growth in West Asia imports to the need to replace military gear that was deployed and destroyed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, as well as political tensions and a regional arms race.


“The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel are readying for a potential conflict with Iran,” the 12-page report said. The report also referred to a severe diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a Saudi-led quartet of states.


The survey also found that the US remains the world’s top arms seller, with a 29 percent jump in its exports over the past five years. Over half of the US arms (52 percent) were sold to customers in West Asia.


British sales rose by 5.9 percent over the same period. Most of the UK arms exports (59 percent) also went to West Asian countries, with Saudi Arabia and Oman being the main destinations for its combat aircraft.


Last month, the Trump administration threatened to veto a bid by the United States Congress to end the country’s military support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition's onslaught in Yemen.


In Britain, the House of Lords International Relations Committee concluded that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the start of the Riyadh-led war on Yemen have been causing “significant civilian casualties” in the country.

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