Report: Small arms imports by Middle East nations increased 84 percent in one year

by WorldTribune Staff, June 13, 2016

Small arms imports by Middle East nations surged by 84 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to a new survey.

Security forces on parade in Mecca. Saudi Arabia almost tripled gun imports between 2012 and 2013. Photograph: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP
Saudi Arabia almost tripled gun imports between 2012 and 2013.  /Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP

The UAE and Saudi Arabia accounted for the largest budget increases, with Saudi tripling its import of small arms from $54 million in 2012 to $161 million a year later, according to the latest bulletin of the Small Arms Survey, sponsored by western governments and published on June 6.

UAE more than doubled its imports of small arms from $71 million to $168 million in the same period. Deliveries of small arms to Qatar increased from $2 million to $16 million.

“The near doubling of small-arms transfers to the Middle East from 2012 to 2013 raises important questions,” Eric Berman, director of the Small Arms Survey, said.

“Do states rigorously assess the potential for diversion, destabilization, or human rights violations before exporting arms? The survey’s recent research, and in particular the results of the survey’s 2016 transparency barometer, indicate that many major exporters are not open regarding such assessment processes or even decisions to authorize or deny a transfer.”

According to the survey, the U.S. retained its long-held position as both the top exporter and importer. It sold a record $1.1 billion worth of small arms in 2013, followed, in terms of exports, by Italy ($644 million) and Germany ($557 million).

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