Known for its widespread human rights violations globally, Saudi Arabi is currently the world leading importer of arms from the year 2014 to 2018 which accounts for about 12 percent of imports an increase of 192 percent over the period of 2009-2013 according to the latest report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
According to data for 2018, the U.S has continued to supply the bulk of arms to Saudi Arabia accounting for 88 percent of all arms sold to the country. Between 2014 and 2018, Saudi Arabia received 22 percent of the US’s arms exports, a sharp spike from 4.9 percent from 2009 to 2013.
The report comprises of major arms, such as armoured vehicles, guided missiles, aircraft, artillery and ships. Arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia in 2014-2018 included 56 combat aircraft from the US and 38 from the U.K. In both cases, the aircraft were equipped with cruise missiles and other guided weapons.
Prearranged future deliveries for 2019-2023 include 98 combat aircraft, seven missile defence systems and 83 tanks from the US, 737 armoured vehicles from Cananda, five frigates from Spain and short-range ballistic missiles from Ukraine, according to SIPRI.
The report noted that arms flows to the Middle East have surged, almost doubling in the past five years. In addition, four of the world’s top 10 arms-importing countries in 2014-2018 were from the Middle East region, among them Saudi Arabia, which received 33 percent of arms transfers to the region, Egypt at 15 percent, the UAE 11 percent and Iraq 11 percent.
The SIPRI report also lists the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany as the Global arms traders to Saudi Arabia with each country contributing 11.5 billion, 2.7 billion, 733million, 391million and 298 million respectively.