STOCKHOLM --- Tense relations between Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are a major cause for concern regarding stability, security and peace in the Gulf region and in the Middle East more generally. These states seek to play a major role in the Middle East and use arms as a key tool in the pursuit of this aim.
To illustrate the importance given to military capability in these four states, this fact sheet provides a concise overview of trends and patterns of military expenditure and of arms imports—the main source of modern major arms for these states—in the period 1994–2018.
It sketches a pattern of rapid military build-ups in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE over the past 15 years, high levels of military spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) in all four countries, and growing military asymmetry in which Saudi Arabia and the UAE continue to build diverse and advanced military capabilities while Iran is unable to do the same.
This raises concerns about the potential effects of these developments on the volatile security situation in the Middle East, the military intentions of these four states and the role of the countries that supply them with arms.
Click here for the full report (8 PDF pages) on the SIPRI website.