Fastest growing military budgets: Ukraine, Iran, Israel

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Ukraine’s 90 percent increase in military spending prompted by Russia’s annexing of Crimea marked the largest defense budget growth in the world for 2015.

Iran and Israel paced the Middle East in defense spending growth while several Gulf Arab states cut spending as oil prices continued to slide, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Budgets Annual Report.

Iran tests new precision-guided ballistic missile‏.
Iran tests new precision-guided ballistic missile‏.

Iran’s 29 percent hike in defense spending was second in the world while Israel’s 10 percent increase was seventh and Iraq was ninth with just under a 9 percent increase.

Russia ranked fourth on the list at 21 percent growth and China was eighth at 9 percent.

“Of the 10 fastest growing defense budgets in 2015, just three were in the Middle East, down from six last year,” said Fenella McGerty, principal analyst at IHS.

Arab states that saw a decrease in defense spending include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

While some Gulf Arab states have cut overall defense spending, they have also continued to build up missile defenses to guard against Iran’s push for regional dominance.

Saudi Arabia spent $46.3 billion on defense in 2015, the most in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the report.

Israel’s overall defense spending in 2015 was $15.6 billion, compared to $14.2 billion in 2014.

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