Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were among the top markets for Canadian military equipment after the United States (US) in 2022, according to a report by Canada’s Department of Global Affairs.
The report’s updated data reveals Israel was the leading country utilising the most exported military permits, after obtaining 315 Canadian military permits last year and importing $21.33 million worth of Canadian weapons and other military technology.
The US remains Canada’s largest customer for weapons, however following right behind is Saudi Arabia, which received around $1.15 billion in Canadian military exports last year.
The majority of Riyadh’s purchase includes armoured combat vehicles with most of the shipments coming from a $15 billion contract reached in 2014 but only approved for export by Canada’s current government after ending the fallout from a 2018 dispute that damaged relations and trade.
Meanwhile, according to the database, Qatar is Canada’s sixth largest non-US customer and second biggest Middle Eastern customer for military exports, receiving $49.26 million worth of weapons and other military equipment in 2022.
Canada’s Global Affairs data states that the Middle East accounts for 59 per cent of non-US destined military goods from Canada, ranking the region the second biggest military customer for Ottawa.
Saudi Arabia and Canada both announced that they will resume diplomatic relations following discussions held between Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, on the side-lines of the Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Bangkok in November last year, according to statements from Canada and Saudi Arabia.
The 2018 row pre-dated the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, later that year, which Canada and all Western countries condemned. It started when Canada’s embassy in Riyadh published a tweet in Arabic urging the immediate release of women’s rights activists held by Saudi Arabia.
The normalisation comes as the Saudi prince seeks to reassert Saudi Arabia as a regional power by using his place atop an energy giant in an oil-dependent world consumed by the war in Ukraine.