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Tuesday, April 12, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Saudis, Algeria notable in list on military spending

LONDON — The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that Algeria and Saudi Arabia were among the highest military spenders.


The institute said the Middle East spent $111 billion on military equipment and weapons in 2010, a 2.5 percent increase from last year. In all, global military spending was reported at $1.63 trillion for 2010, an increase of 1.3 percent.

"The largest absolute rise in the region was by Saudi Arabi," SIPRI said.

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The institute, which on April 11 released its yearbook for 2010, said Algeria led major oil producers in Africa for military procurement, Middle East Newsline reported. The Algerian military procurement was said to mark an arms race with neighboring Morocco.

"In recent years concerns have been expressed that regional rivals Algeria and Morocco are engaged in an arms race," the report said. "SIPRI data shows that the overwhelming majority of arms transfers to North Africa for the period 2005–2009 were destined for Algeria."

The report said the Algerian-Moroccan arms race could influence Libyan defense spending. Morocco has already placed orders for F-16 fighter-jets, Sigma-class frigates and missiles.

SIPRI said major weapons recipients between 2005 and 2009 were Greece and the United Arab Emirates. Israel and Algeria were ranked sixth and ninth during that period.

"Recent arms acquisitions by certain states in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia suggest that a pattern of reactive arms acquisitions is emerging, that could develop into regional arms races," the report said. "Asian and Middle Eastern countries are expected to remain among the world's largest importers."

The United States was deemed the leading military supplier to the Middle East. One market identified by the institute was Iraq, whose military has been developed by Washington.

"Iraq continues to rely on the USA for the provision of equipment to rebuild its armed forces, but has also received arms from Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey," the report said. "Its ambitious procurement plans have been hit by the economic crisis and declining oil prices. Nevertheless, the timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq lends a sense of urgency to international efforts to provide Iraq with the arms and military equipment it seeks to meet its perceived internal and external security needs."

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