New data shows that arms transfers to the Middle East have increased by
38 percent during the past five years, compared to the previous five.
The data show the
United States, Russia and Germany remain the world's largest arms
The report by the independent Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute shows the volume of arms
transfers worldwide increased by 21 percent during the group's latest
five-year reporting period.
Arms transfers had been at their lowest level since the 1960's during the previous reporting period between 1999-2003.
list of top arms exporters has remained constant for many years, as
Paul Holtom, the Head of SIPRI's Arms Transfer Program explains.
top five suppliers, that is the U.S.A, Russia, Germany, France and the
U.K. (United Kingdom), they are mainstays really in those positions.
They switch around sometimes, but you know, the U.S.A. and Russia are
really in a league of their own," said Holtom.
arms exports were 14 percent higher from 2004-2008 than the previous
five years, largely due to increased deliveries to Asia, Africa and
Latin America. Holtom says increasing oil prices during that
period, which have since leveled off, appear to be one of the factors
that contributed to increased purchases of conventional weapons.
recent years we have seen oil-rich states in the Middle East, and also
Algeria and Venezuela really rise in the rankings, as they have had the
funds to be able to pay for the modernization, upgrading and
re-equipping of their armed forces," said Holtom.
said it is hard to predict what impact falling oil prices and the
global economic crisis will have on the global arms trade in the years
ahead. But he said there are early signs of some countries cutting
back on their purchases.
example, Malaysia has cut orders for helicopters. And we are seeing
Brazil, which we thought was going to emerge as a big recipient,
re-assessing its position on whether it is going to go ahead with some
of these big deals."
But Holtom said if you look back to the Great Depression in the 1930's, arms sales actually increased.
SIPRI reports show there were increasing volumes of arms transfers
from 2004-2008 in states involved in armed conflict including
Afghanistan, Georgia, Israel, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.