The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said the Middle East has ranked second globally in terms of the size of arms imports; with 32 per cent of global arms imports going to the region.
According to the Institute's annual yearbook for 2022, four Arab countries came in the top ten arms importing countries in the world during the period from 2017-2021. They were named as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"Middle Eastern states imported 2.8 per cent more arms in 2017–21 than they did in 2012–16. This followed an 86 per cent increase in arms imports to the region between 2007–11 and 2012–16," the report said.
"The Middle East accounted for 43 per cent of US arms transfers. Especially important for the growth of US arms exports was an increase in deliveries of major arms to Saudi Arabia, by 106 per cent."
"Arms imports by Saudi Arabia—the world's second largest arms importer—increased by 27 per cent between 2012–16 and 2017–21. Qatar's arms imports grew by 227 per cent, propelling it from the 22nd largest arms importer to the 6th largest. In contrast, arms imports by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shrank by 41 per cent between 2012–16 and 2017–21, taking it from the third largest to the ninth largest arms importer globally. All three of these states and Kuwait have placed large orders for major arms planned for delivery in the coming years."
Meanwhile, Israeli arms imports increased by 19 per cent between 2012–16 and 2017–21.