London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Defense spending is increasing in the Middle East despite a global downward trend, says a report by professional services firm Deloitte.
The report, ‘Global Aerospace and Defense Industry Outlook,’ says that countries in the Middle East, along with China, Russia, South Korea, Brazil and Japan, have beefed up their defense budgets in 2013 due to threats on their borders or within their regions.
“Many of these countries have produced the incremental wealth necessary to equip their militaries with modern defense platforms and technologies,” the report said.
This comes despite an overall shrinkage in global defense spending, which is projected to decline by 2.5 percent in 2013, following decreases of 1.3 percent in 2012 and 1.9 percent in 2011.
However, the report says that the world’s biggest spender, the US, which accounts for almost 40 percent of global defense expenditure, and which saw its own defense budget slashed by 37 billion US dollars in 2013, may have disproportionately impacted the overall figures.
Saudi Arabia is the Middle East’s biggest spender on defense, and the world’s seventh-biggest, allocating 8.9 percent of its GDP in 2013 on defense alone, and accounting for 3.2 percent of total global spending, according to research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The Kingdom placed one of the largest defense orders in history in 2010, signing an agreement with the US for 30 billion dollars of new F-15 combat jets and helicopters, and upgrades for dozens of F-15s in its existing arsenal.
The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq, Oman and Morocco are all among the top 50 biggest spenders on defense globally, according to SIPRI.