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Saudi Arabia: The countries still sell arms to the Kingdom

Denmark and Finland on Thursday became the latest countries to postpone new arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Denmark's Foreign Ministry…

Denmark and Finland on Thursday became the latest countries to postpone new arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Denmark’s Foreign Ministry said there were freezing new offers over both Khashoggi and Yemen, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned only Yemen. Finland also banned new arms sales to the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the Saudi-Arab coalition in the conflict.

Messages came only two days after Germany said that all arms transfers to the country were stopped.

Denmark and Finland are not major suppliers of weapons to Saudi Arabia, but Germany is safe. It had already repealed new arms agreements to Saudi Arabia, but on Monday it was extended to ban the transfer of weapons on existing orders.

So where will Saudi Arabia get rid of its weapons?

Violence deals are often done in secret or with little publicity. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is trying to track offers involving large arms, and a database of Saudi imports from the last decade shows the United States as the largest supplier, followed by Britain, France, Spain and then Germany.

But many exporters still selling to Saudi countries have dramatically reduced supply in recent years. For example, the United Kingdom transferred arms worth an estimated $ 843 million by 2016, but almost halved this value to $ 436 million last year, according to SIPRI. (The database uses constant values ​​with 1990 prices to eliminate currency fluctuations and inflation.)

French exports of major weapons to Saudi Arabia worth $ 174 million in 2015 but dropped to $ 91 million in 2016 and $ 27 million last year.

The value of Spanish exports also declined drastically during that period, but the Spanish government confirmed this year that it would advance with arms agreements that had previously suggested that it would freeze and bend for pressure from Spanish manufacturers, according to reports.

American dwarf other exporters

Despite these decreases, the total value of Saudi arms imports actually increased by 38% between 2016 and 2017.

It was almost entirely due to a huge rise in transfers from the United States, almost doubling Its exports in terms of value from $ 1.8 billion to $ 3.4 billion at that time. Germany also multiplied its exports from $ 14 million to $ 105 million, although it is expected to be much lower this year after it was abolished.

Overall, no country near the United States comes in large arms. Over the past five years, the United States accounted for 61 percent of the major arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The United Kingdom was a distant second with a share of 23%, while France in third place was only 4%.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that interrupting major weapons contracts with Saudis would be stupid and that “Russia and China would be the huge beneficiaries” if he stopped the US sales.

China supplies a negligible amount of large weapons to Saudi Arabia, SIPRI data shows, but it is increasing. Russia supplies so little it is not included in the organization’s database.

“Russia has been trying hard for the last 10-15 years to enter the major Saudi weapon market, but it has not been very successful. Saudi Arabia has acquired Russian rifles and may have bought other things, but such offers have been very small, says Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with SIPRI arms transfers and military spending.

“China has made some major efforts on the Saudi weapon market, especially selling armed drones,” said Wezeman.

“The details are shady and we may well have underestimated China’s role as a weapons exporter to Saudi Arabia. But China does not come anywhere near the United States, Britain or France as weapon suppliers. Still the important point here is that Saudi Arabia has investigated the possibility of diversifying its supplier base. “


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