Saudi Arms Imports Triple Amid Yemen Conflict

Feb 27th, 2017 | By | Category: News Posts

According to a new report, Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-largest arms importer. The kingdom’s arms imports have increased by 212 percent compared to 2007-2011. The United States is currently the world’s top weapons exporter.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that between 2007-2011 and 2012-2016, arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 86%.

Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said: “Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities… Despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions.”

From 2012-2016, the United States was the top arms exporter, accounting for a one-third share of global arms exports. Its arms exports increased by 21% from 2007-2011. Almost half of the US arms exports went to the Middle East.

During Obama’s presidency, the US offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion worth of arms in 42 separate deals, according to the Center for International Policy, which estimated that US arms offers to Saudi Arabia were more than any US administration in the history of the US-Saudi relationship.

In December 2016, the White House blocked a scheduled arms transfer to Saudi Arabia due to growing concerns about the civilian death toll from Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter told RT in February that “the Obama administration has been essentially tied to the Saudi interests in Yemen, as they have been in Syria to a great extent of the past by the degree to which the permanent government in the US – the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA – all have very, very close relations with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia… These war powers in the US are very unwilling to have any US policy that would criticize, much less take away support for the Saudi war so that these arrangements can continue. I am very much afraid that the Trump administration will be subject to the same logic, the same political forces that have kept the Obama administration from taking any responsibility for what is going on in Yemen.”

In January, a senior UN official reported that the death toll in the Yemeni conflict has surpassed 10,000 people, and almost 40,000 people have been wounded.

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