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Middle East gets 50% of US arms exports- Saudi No.2 arms importer globally

Last summer, US President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and his administration announced that he had concluded a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom which could reach $350bn in the coming 5 years.

“Nearly half of US arms exports over the past five years have gone to the war-stricken Middle East, with Saudi Arabia consolidating its place as the world’s second biggest importer, according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) report Monday.

The study found that global transfer of major weapons systems between 2013 and 2017 rose by 10% compared with the five-year period before that.

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The Guardian reported that Saudi Arabia is world’s second biggest importer globally, and the US is the world’s biggest exporter, and has increased its sales between those two periods by 25%.

“Russia, the world’s second biggest exporter, saw a decrease of 7.1% in its overall volume of arms exports while US exports were 58% higher than those of Russia,” said the Guardian based on the report.

“The Middle East, a region where in the past five years most countries have been involved in conflict, accounted for 32% of global imports of weapons.”

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The UK, which hosted a visit by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to London last week, has according to the Guardian, exported nearly half of its arms to the Saudi Arabia, which has increased its imports by 225%.

“Saudi Arabia’s shopping list included 78 combat aircraft, 72 combat helicopters and 328 tanks,” said the UK daily.

Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the Sipri’s arms and military expenditure programme told the daily “The USA and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98% of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia.”