Procurement: Big Buyer Seeks Friendly Sellers

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November 9,2008: Last year, Saudi Arabia again became the largest ($10.6 billion) importer of weapons in the world. Second place, with $5 billion, was India. Saudi Arabia is not the only Middle Eastern nation that is building up their armed forces. From 2004-2007, that region accounted for 42 percent of arms imports. The U.S. is no longer the major supplier either, accounting for only about a third of the arms sold to Middle East, down from 73 percent in the four years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Saudis have been spreading their arms purchases around, in order to acquire more nations, especially in Western Europe, that will have more of an interest in helping to halt any future Iranian aggression.

It's not just weapons that are being sold, but maintenance, training and supply contracts that eventually amount to more than the cost of the tanks, warplanes and ships. China used to be a big buyer, but they have been rapidly shifting to building legal, or illegal, copies of stuff they used to import (usually from Russia.)

 

 


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