Increase in Mideast arms sales projected

Thursday, November 27, 2003< /FONT>

Middle East nations are expected to increase defense procurement amid rising revenues from crude oil and new regional threats.

A new study cited the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, the Al Qaida campaign against Saudi Arabia and the Israeli-Palestinian war as triggers for an increase in Middle East military spending. The report said this would result in an annual $3 billion increase in defense expenditures for the region in another three years.

Forecast International said in the study that annual defense spending in the Middle East will rise to $55 billion in 2007. The Newton, Conn. consultancy said defense expenditures in 2003 will amount to $52 billion, Middle East Newsline reported.

"The Middle East, which is one of the world's largest single regional arms buyers, will continue to dominate the market," Forecast International's senior analyst for the Middle East, Thalif Deen, said.

The report said the largest spenders on military procurement in the Middle East will continue to be Saudi Arabia. Forecast said the Saudi kingdom will average more than $18 billion in defense spending annually through 2007.

The second biggest defense spender will be Israel. Forecast said Israel will spend more than $9 billion annually.

Anti-God scientists may not be as all-knowing as they think
The pig-headed scientist who refuses to admit reality is really just a pathetic creature of the pathetic anti-God clan, which seems to now infest the institutes of higher learning of this nation: Read on . . .

Iran will spend $4.5 billion annually, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with $3.7 billion, Forecast said. The report said Egypt will spend more than $3 billion a year.

Egypt and Israel receive the largest amount of U.S. military aid. Israel receives $2.2 billion a year and Egypt about $1.3 billion.

"The rise in military spending is also attributed to increased expenditures on internal security prompted by potential terrorist attacks on soft targets in the Middle East," the report said.

Forecast said Iraq and Libya will comprise new defense markets over the next three years. The report cited the installation of a U.S.-backed civilian administration in Iraq and the removal of United Nations military sanctions on Libya.

The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority has launched a project to establish a 40,000-member military in Iraq. Most of the weapons for that force are expected to be Soviet-origin.

U.S. weapons sales to the Middle East are also expected to rise over the next three years. The report said U.S. sales declined to $3.7 billion in 2003, down from $5.2 billion in 2002.

But U.S. contractors are expected to increase sales to Middle East clients to more than $5 billion each in 2004 and 2005. The report said the increased arms sales are based on a stable oil market in the Middle East.

The report said Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE are also expected to buy additional military platforms from the United States. Over the last two years, the Bush administration has agreed to sell a range of aircraft and other systems to these Gulf Cooperation Council states.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts
Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives

See current edition of

Return to World Front Cover