The House Saud deals with suspicious arms deals, billions of dollars worth, are a major means of influencing countries’ policies to prevent them from taking steps against them in the international arena.
Arms deals are often concluded discreetly or with a minimum of publicity. A database of Saudi arms imports over the past ten years shows that the largest arms supplier is the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany.
But many exporters who continue to sell arms to Saudis have significantly reduced their supplies in recent years because of their crimes in the Yemen war.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United Kingdom, for example, exported $ 843 million worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in 2016, and $ 436 million last year.
French exports of major arms to Saudi Arabia reached $ 174 million in 2015 but fell to only $ 91 million in 2016 and $ 27 million last year.
According to reports, the volume of Spanish arms exports to Saudi Arabia also declined significantly during that period. However, the Spanish government confirmed this year 2018 that it would proceed with arms deals that it had previously hinted to freeze, subject to pressure from Spanish arms manufacturers.
Despite the decline, the total value of Saudi arms imports increased by 37% between 2016 and 2017.
This is almost entirely due to the enormous increase in US arms imports, which nearly doubled the value of their exports to the Kingdom, from $ 1.8 billion to $ 3.4 billion during that period.
Germany also multiplied its exports from $ 14 million to $ 105 million, although it is expected to drop significantly this year after the suspension.
In general, no country is even close to the level of US imports of primary weapons to Saudi Arabia.
For example, over the past five years, the United States has accounted for 61% of the volume of major arms deals with the Saudis. The United Kingdom came second with a 23% lead, while France came in third with only 4%.
In a statement issued by President Trump on 20 November, he said it would be foolish to cancel major arms export contracts with the Saudis. He also said and that “Russia and China would be the biggest beneficiaries” if the United States stopped its sales.
The data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that China supplies an insignificant amount of large arms to Saudi Arabia, but it is rising. Russian arms exports to Saudi Arabia are so small.
“For the last 10 to 15 years, Russia has tried to enter the Saudi arms market, but it has not,” said Peter Weisman, a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Institute’s weapons and military spending program. Saudi Arabia imported Russian rifles and may have bought other weapons, but the size of those deals was very small. ”
“China has made significant progress in entering the Saudi arms market, especially by selling drones to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“The details of these deals are ambiguous, and we are very likely to underestimate China’s role as an exporter of arms to Saudi Arabia. But the volume of Chinese exports to Saudi Arabia does not come close to exports from the United States, the United Kingdom, or even France. However, Saudi Arabia has explored the possibility of diversifying its arms suppliers’ base.”