The United States’ share of global arms exports rose to 40 percent from 33 percent in the past five years. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt ranked among the top ten largest importers of weapons in the world in the five years through 2022.
In a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think-tank, there has been an increase in imports in certain places despite the overall market falling by 5.1 percent.
Saudi Arabia ranked as the second largest arms importer globally in 2018-2022.
Saudi Arabia received 9.6 percent of all weapons imports during that period. Saudi arms purchases during 2022 included aircraft, air defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles, naval weapons, sensors, and ships.
The vast majority of the imports came from the U.S., making up 78 percent. France and Spain contributed to the other imports, at 6.4 and 4.9 percent respectively.
The top 10 largest importers of arms in the Middle East were: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, and Iraq.
Overall arms imports to the Middle East were down 8.8 percent when comparing between 2013-2017 and 2018-2022.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, following years of growing tensions, has prompted European countries to rush to bolster their defenses.
Although the international arms market has experienced a decline over the last decade, arms imports into Europe have risen sharply, largely “due to tensions between Russia and most European countries”.
The report shows a 47 percent increase in arms imports in Europe when comparing the period 2013-2017 with 2018-2022.
The biggest overall importer in the world was India.
Following the U.S. the second top largest exporter was Russia, followed by France, China, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, South Korea, and Israel.
For three decades, Russia has clearly been the second-largest arms exporter behind the United States. Moscow retains its position but has seen its share of the global market fall to 16 percent and is now closely followed by France with an 11 percent share.