Saudi Arabia buys more arms than any other county in the Middle East. In 2009, the nation spent $40.5 billion on that. Israel comes second with a much smaller amount though - $13 billion.
Interestingly enough, other countries of the region did not take any measures to reduce the number of their arms purchasing deals either, not even against the background of the economic crisis. Quite on the contrary, the number of arms contracts has been growing steadily. In 2006, the countries of the Middle East spent $77 billion on the purpose, and the number grew to $102 billion in 2009.
It may look strange that such a country like Saudi Arabia that enjoys the protection of US army bases is interested in acquiring more and more arms.
Anatoly Tsyganok, an expert with the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Saudi Arabia intends to diversify its arms. To put it in a nutshell, the nation wants to refuse from the predominance of the United States on its arms market. This trend can be observed in many other countries of the world.
“India currently refuses from the monopoly of Russian arms and turns to the USA instead, whereas Saudi Arabia, on the contrary, intends to cooperate with Russia closer. Probably, they are doing it to be able to compete with the army of Israel,” the expert said.
Ilya Dubinsky, an Israeli political blogger, believes that Saudi Arabia spends so much on arms not to lose its cash. Saudi Arabia has never waged any wars against Israel, not even during the worst time in Israeli-Arab relations.
“Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a headache for Saudi kings before 2003. Saddam was hanged, Iraq collapsed, but now it is Iran that shows aggression against the countries of the Persian Gulf. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest threat to Saudi Arabia’s security, which makes the nation increase its arms deals with other countries.
In 2016, Iran bought four divisions of S-300 Favorit anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia. Each division includes 12 launchers
The United States has always been the largest defense spender in the world with China following second. In 2017, Russia started losing its positions and dropped to the fourth place and then to the seventh, in 2019