Israel is the world's eighth largest weapons exporter. The volume of Israeli defense exports in the past five years was 50% more than in the preceding five years, a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) states. SIPRI, founded by a Swedish parliamentarian, monitors global weapons sales and notes global trends in the sector. The report states that Israel's largest customers in 2014-2018 were India, Azerbaijan, and Vietnam. At the same time, Israel's arms procurement during this period was triple the amount in the preceding five years, mostly from the US and Germany.
The report indicates that while arms trade fell in most areas of the world, defense procurement increased 87% in the Middle East, resulting in an 8% increase in the global volume of arms trade in the past five years, compared with the preceding five years. The leading country in weapons procurement during this period was Saudi Arabia, with 12% of total global procurement, followed by India with 9.5% and Egypt with 5.1%.
Saudi Arabia is the largest customer for the US, UK, Swedish, and Canadian weapons industry, and a leading customer of France. Germany recently suspended weapons exports to Saudi Arabia because of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but is also a leading supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia, along with Spain.
The report states that Israeli private and government companies accounted for 3.1% of global weapons sales in 2014-2018, compared with 2.1% in 2009-2013. Israel is not far behind the seventh largest weapons exporter, Spain, which accounted for 3.2% of global weapons sales in 2014-2018.
SIPRI's report states that in the past five years, the US "consolidated its status as the world's largest weapons supplier" with a 36% share of the global arms market, 6% more than in 2009-2013. 98 countries worldwide bought US weapons in the past five years. The US was followed by Russia with a 21% market share, France (6.8%), Germany (6.4%), and China (5.2%).
Pieter Wezeman, one of the report's editors, told "Globes" today that Saudi Arabia's appetite for arms was attributable to "a combination of rivalry with Iran and a wish by the country's political leadership to make Saudi Arabia a regional power and build an army that would be able to suppress an internal rebellion like the ones in Libya, Syria, and Egypt." He noted that weapons procurement by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Egyptian regime, which believes that "procuring weapons is essential to preserving its security," were motivated by the similar interests.
"Israel exports weapons to many countries in the world," Wezeman says, adding, "The only region in which the Israeli defense industry, with government encouragement, is inactive is in the Middle East, now that its relations with Turkey have deteriorated."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 11, 2019
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