As conflict in the Middle East continues to escalate, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is reported to have imported to more than 275% of weapons and other caches in the world today. UK defence contractors are estimated to have sold more than £1.56 billion of arms to the country. European state imports are down by 41 per cent.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has contained the figures.
“A coalition of Arab states is putting mainly US- and European-sourced advanced arms into use in Yemen,” said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with Sipri’s arms and military expenditure programme. “Despite low oil prices, large deliveries of arms to the Middle East are scheduled to continue as part of contracts signed in the past five years.”
Meanwhile, the SIPRI reports that Iran, Saudi Arabia’s perceived rival related to the Sunni and Shia Muslim conflict, has imported “a very low level” of arms following its arms embargoes for more than a decade. Due to the nuclear deal, Iran may be allowed to buy new weapons from its neighbouring countries.
Russia, an ally of Syria and Iran, said it would sign a contract to sell Sukhoi Su-30 SM multi-role fighters to Iran. According to the US State Department, a sale of arms to Iran would violate a UN arms embargo without advance security council approval.