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Report: Saudi was Middle East’s largest arms purchaser in 2023

April 23, 2024 at 1:01 pm

Supporters of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) protest outside the high court on the first day of their case at the High Court in London, England on January 31, 2023 [Guy Smallman/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia bought more arms than any country in the Middle East in 2023, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The think tank’s latest report said that Riyadh spent $76 billion on arms in 2023, a four per cent increase compared to the previous year, making it the biggest spender after the US, China, Russia and India.

Defence spending in the Middle East recorded an unprecedented increase last year, reaching nearly $200 billion, at a rate of nine per cent of the total volume of global defence spending.

Israel came in second after Saudi Arabia in the region, with spending amounting to $27.5 billion, an increase of 24 per cent compared to 2022, driven by its war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Algeria recorded a 76 per cent increase in military spending, reaching $18.3 billion, the highest level ever recorded, while Iran ranked fourth with $10.3 billion.

According to the SIPRI report, US military spending increased by two per cent to $916 billion, followed by China with a six per cent increase, at a cost of $296 billion.

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