Behind India, the largest weapons importer in 2018-2022, Saudi Arabia (2nd), Qatar (3rd), and Egypt (6th) rank among the world’s top 10 largest weapons importers over the past five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Saudi Arabia was positioned, between 2018 and 2022, as the second largest weapons importer globally, receiving 9.6% of total weapons imports on a comparative basis, the kingdom’s total imports decreased by 8.7% compared to the previous period, covering 2013 to 2017.
Saudi weapons purchases during 2022 included aircraft, air defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles, naval weapons, sensors, and ships.
Saudi Arabia’s leading suppliers were the United States, providing 78% of the total weapons imported by the kingdom, France, supplying 6.4%, and Spain, which sold 4.9% of the total weapons purchased by the Saudis.
US weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia included “the delivery of 91 combat aircraft with hundreds of ground attack missiles and more than 20,000 guided bombs,” according to the SIPRI report.
For its part, Qatar ranked as the third largest weapons importer over the past five years, rising from sixth place in the previous period.
Its imports increased by 311% when comparing data between the two periods.
Qatar’s purchases during 2022 included aircraft, air defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles, naval weapons, sensors, and ships.
The Gulf country’s main suppliers were the United States, which provided 42% of total Qatari imports, France, supplying 29% of the total weapons purchased by the small Gulf country, and Italy, which sold the equivalent of 14% of the total imports.
Its imports included “36 fighter jets from France, 36 from the United States and eight from the United Kingdom, as well as three frigates from Italy,” SIPRI stated in its official report.
Finally, Egypt ranked as the sixth largest weapons importer over the past five years.
However, this represents a drop in the ranking compared to the previous period, when it reached third place.
This is because its total imports decreased by 5.3% compared to the two periods.
Over the past year, Egypt purchased aircraft, missiles, naval weapons, sensors, and ships.
Russian weapons in Egypt increased by 44% during 2018-2022 compared to 2013-2017, making the Arab country the third largest recipient from Russia.
The leading suppliers in Egypt are Russia, supplying 34% of total Egyptian imports; Italy, which supplied 19% of total purchases; and France, which also supplied 19% of total purchases from the Arab country.
In regional terms, the top 10 weapons importers in the Middle East were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, and Iraq.
Regarding the UAE’s weapons imports during 2018-2022, these were 38% lower than in 2013-2017, which made it drop out of the Top 10 and rank number 11 in 2018-2022.
Concerning the UAE, SIPRI noted that “notable weapons imports in 2018-22 included hundreds of air defense missiles and more than 20,000 guided bombs from the United States.”
Most weapons imports to the Middle East came from the United States, supplying 54% of the total; followed by France, which sold 12% of total weapons to the region; Russia, with an 8.6% share; and Italy, which sold 8.4%.
SIPRI data showed that these imports included more than 260 advanced combat aircraft, 516 new tanks, and 13 frigates.
The think tank noted, “Arab states in the Gulf region alone have placed orders for more than 180 combat aircraft.”
However, total weapons imports from Middle Eastern countries in 2018-2022 decreased by 8.8% compared to 2013-2017.
Meanwhile, the global ranking of the ten largest weapons importers in the last five years places India first, followed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, China, Egypt, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, and the United States.
Meanwhile, the top 10 weapons exporters between 2018 and 2022 were the United States, Russia, France, China, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea, and Israel.
It is worth noting that the SIPRI weapons transfers database contains information on all transfers of primary conventional weapons from 1950 to the current year.
With information from Derecha Diario