Syrian arms (illustrative).
(photo credit:REUTERS/Sana Sana)
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday
published a report finding that Russian arms imports to Syria
contributed to a 580 percent increase in the volume of Syrian arms
imports from 2007-2011 as compared to 2002-2006.
Russia supplied 78% of Syria’s arms imports in 2007–11. During 2011,
Russia continued deliveries of Buk-M2E SAM systems and Bastion-P coastal
defense missile systems to Syria, as well as securing an order for 36
Yak-130 trainer/combat aircraft.
Besides the situation in Syria, the report also notes that major arms
suppliers continued to deliver weapons to countries involved in the
events of the Arab Spring, despite the uncertainty surrounding the
intentions of the new regimes.
The US completed a review in 2011 of its arms transfer policies towards
the region, but continues to provide significant arms to both Tunisia
and Egypt. In 2011, the US delivered 45 M-1A1 tanks to Egypt and agreed
to deliver 125 more.
“The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has provoked
public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier states.
However, the impact of these debates on states' arms export policies
has, up to now, been limited,” stated Mark Bromley, senior researcher
Unconnected to the Arab Spring, the report notes that in 2011 Saudi
Arabia placed an order with the US for 154 F-15SA combat aircraft, the
largest arms deal for at least two decades.
Meanwhile, globally, Asia and Oceania accounted for 44% of global arms
imports, followed by Europe (19%), the Middle East (17%), the Americas
(11%) and Africa (9%). India was the world’s largest recipient of arms,
accounting for 10% of global arms imports, the next four largest being
South Korea (6%), Pakistan (5%), China (5%) and Singapore (4%). “Major
Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries
and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply,” said Pieter
Wezeman, senior researcher at SIPRI.
The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all
international transfers of major conventional weapons from 1950 to
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