Israel major arms supplier to Morocco, Philippines

King Mohammed VI of Morocco  credit: Reuters - DNPhotography/ABACA
King Mohammed VI of Morocco credit: Reuters - DNPhotography/ABACA

According to the latest SIPRI report, Israel share of global arms exports declined in 2019-2023, while Italy, Turkey and Iran gained share significantly.

Israel’s share of the global trade in arms is declining, even though its arms exports have grown in absolute terms in recent years. This emerges from the annual report on the arms trade by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), released this week. At the same time, the data show that Israel has become a significant supplier of arms to the Philippines and Morocco.

In the period 2019-2023, Israel was the ninth largest arms exporter in the world, but its share of global defense exports fell to 2.4%, from 3.1% in the period 2014-2018. In the report for 2022, which examined the period 2018-2022, Israel was in 10th spot. In the 2019-2023 period, Turkey’s share of the global defense market more than doubled, to 1.6%, from 0.7% in 2014-2018, and it reached 11th place. Italy jumped to 6th place, after its share of the market rose from 2.2% to 4.3%.

US leads, Russian exports halved

The US remains the world’s largest arms exporter, by a wide margin, with a 42% share of global arms exports in 2019-2023, up from 34% in the previous period. France is in second place, with an 11% share, up from 7.2%. By contrast, arms exports by third placed Russia halved in comparison with the previous period. Its invasion of Ukraine in 2022 compelled it to divert arms production to its own needs.

China is in fourth place, with a 5.8% global share, similar to its share in the previous period, with 61% of its arms exports going to Pakistan. Israel’s main export destinations are much more diverse: 37% to India, 12% to the Philippines, and 8.7% to the US.

Also above Israel are Germany, Italy (as mentioned), the UK, and Spain, while just below it are South Korea, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

The data on imports reveal some surprising numbers. According to the SIPRI report, Israel is the third largest supplier of arms to the UK (2.7%), the second largest to the Philippines (28%), and, most intriguingly, the third largest to Morocco (11%). Morocco has stepped up its imports from Israel considerably since the signing of the Abraham Accords in December 2020.

Israel’s own arms imports were 5.1% higher in 2019-2023 than in 2014-2018. The main sources were the US (69%) and Germany (30%). Israel accounted for 2.1% of global arms imports in 2019-2023, just 0.1% more than in the previous period, putting it in 15th place. Turkey, which has been expanding its domestic arms productions, fell from a 2.5% share of global arms imports to 1.6%.

Despite the quantities of arms and ammunition that the US has transferred to Israel since the start of the Swords of Iron war, the total value of Israel’s arms imports in 2023 was similar to the total for 2022. The report states that, at the end of last year, Israel was awaiting delivery of 61 combat aircraft from the US, and four submarines from Germany. According to SIPRI’s figures, in the period 2019-2023, the US supplied arms to 107 countries, with four of the ten leading recipients being in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia (15%), Qatar (8.2%), Kuwait (4.5%), and Israel (3.6%).

Total arms imports by Middle Eastern countries fell by 12% in 2019-2023 in comparison with the previous five years, but remained high, because of Egypt, and even more so Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which take second and third place worldwide. In 2019-2023, Saudi Arabia bought 67 combat aircraft and hundreds of ground-to-ground missiles from the US. Qatar bought 36 combat aircraft from France, a further 36 from the US, and 25 from the UK. It also bought four frigates from Italy.

Ukraine war boosts Iran’s exports

Predictably, Ukraine stands out in the global arms imports figures. Its imports shot up by 6,633%, accounting for 4.9% of the global total, and taking it to fourth place, just behind Qatar. 39% of Ukraine’s arms imports in 2019-2023 came from the US, 14% from Germany, and 13% from Poland. The war in Ukraine prompted a 94% rise in arms imports by European countries.

For its part, Russia imported arms from North Korea and Iran. Iran is in 25Th place for arms exports, accounting for 0.2% of the global total. The war in Ukraine boosted its arms exports in 2019-2023 by 276% in comparison with 2014-2018, with 76% of the total going to Russia, 16% to Venezuela, and 7.4% to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on March 13, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco  credit: Reuters - DNPhotography/ABACA
King Mohammed VI of Morocco credit: Reuters - DNPhotography/ABACA
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