March 23, 2018

Almost half of U.S. arms exports go to the Middle East

13 March 2018, 03:48 | Darnell Patrick

Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

The largest exporters of arms are the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China (they provided 74% of total world export of arms for the last 5 years).

In the same period, India's imports increased by 24% between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

The U.S. continues to dominate arms exports, and it has accounted for 34 percent of total arms exports over the past five years.

The U.S. reportedly supplied weapons to some 98 states with 49 percent of sales going toward the Middle East, where American weapons have ended up in the hands of countries charged with human rights abuses and militant groups labeled terrorist organizations accused of destabilizing the region.

Tensions between China and Japan in the East China Sea also saw Japan moving closer to the USA, the report said.

Pakistan's arms imports fell by 36% from 2008-'12 to 2013-'17.

The Middle East region accounted for 32 percent of global arms imports over the past five years, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia occupying the third and second positions, respectively, in the table of largest arms importers globally.

Its latest report, titled "Asia and the Middle East lead rising trend in arms imports, US exports grow significantly", highlights the most important trends in the current global arms industry.

The flow of arms increased to Asia, while there was a decrease in the flow to Africa, the Americas and Europe between 2008 and 2012 and 2013-17.

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The SIPRI report has also brought to light India's shifting preference for the United States, who is the leader in arms exports worldwide, holding a share of 34%.

India was the world's largest importer of major arms in 2013-17 and accounted for 12 percent of the global total.

'The tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India's growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself, ' said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

In 2017 it delivered one patrol ship, the USS Morgenthau, to Vietnam - the first major United States arms transfer to that country. A majority of these weapons have been procured by countries in India's neighbourhood.

The Communist nation's arms imports fell by 19% between 2008 and 2012 and 2013-17.

Military expert Collin Koh, from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said higher value military items like warships and fighter jets were the major reason for the rise in China's arms exports.

Notably, Algeria accounted for 52 percent of all African imports over the last five years. The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all worldwide transfers of major weapons, since 1950.

The SIPRI report notes deteriorating ties between the USA and Pakistan, stemming from the perception that Islamabad is not doing enough to combat terrorism in Afghanistan.

SIPRI, an independent institute, monitors arms deliveries by volume over periods of five years in order to iron out short-term fluctuations.

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