2008: Last year, Saudi Arabia again became the largest ($10.6 billion) importer
of weapons in the world. Second place, with $5 billion, was India. Saudi Arabia
is not the only Middle Eastern nation that is building up their armed
forces. From 2004-2007, that region
accounted for 42 percent of arms imports. The U.S. is no longer the major
supplier either, accounting for only about a third of the arms sold to Middle
East, down from 73 percent in the four years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The Saudis have been spreading their arms purchases around, in order to acquire
more nations, especially in Western Europe, that will have more of an interest
in helping to halt any future Iranian aggression.
just weapons that are being sold, but maintenance, training and supply
contracts that eventually amount to more than the cost of the tanks, warplanes
and ships. China used to be a big buyer, but they have been rapidly shifting to
building legal, or illegal, copies of stuff they used to import (usually from