Israel among top arms exporters and importers

Israel signs arms transfer agreements worth $12.9 billion, ranking it 8th among worlds biggest arms suppliers.

August 28, 2012 16:41
2 minute read.
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Uzi model submachine gun 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Israel is one of the world's top arms exporters, and most of its customers are developing countries. Israel is also one of the world's biggest arms buyers, according to a report, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2004-2011, by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. The report was sent to Congress on Friday.

In 2004-11, Israel signed arms transfer agreements worth $12.9 billion, putting it in eighth place among the world's eleven biggest arms suppliers (behind the US, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, China, and Italy). In 2011, Israel's arms transfer agreements nations totaled $400 million. Arms deliveries totaled $10.6 billion in 2004-11, including $1.8 billion in 2011. (Arms deliveries in any given year are often the results of agreements signed in previous years).

According to the CRS report, Israel's arms transfer agreements with developing nations totaled $8.7 billion in 2004-11, putting it in seventh place among the eleven arms suppliers listed (behind the US, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and China, and ahead of Italy, Ukraine, Spain, and Sweden). Israeli arms transfer agreements with developing nations totaled $200 million in 2011, putting it in eleventh place.

Actual arms deliveries by Israel in 2004-11 totaled $4.7 billion, in seventh place. Israeli arms deliveries to developing nations totaled $1.3 billion in 2011.

Israel is also one of the world's largest arms buyers, mostly from the US. Israel signed $9.5 billion in arms transfer agreements in 2004-11, including $5.9 billion in 2008-11), making it the world's ninth largest arms buyer. Saudi Arabia topped the list (with $75.7 billion in arms purchases), followed by India ($46.6 billion), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ($20.3 billion). Actual arms deliveries to Israel totaled $9.8 billion in 2004-11, putting it in sixth place.

The US is the world's largest arms supplier by a wide margin. US arms sales agreements tripled in 2011, mostly due to strong demand by Persian Gulf countries which fear Iran's efforts to establish regional dominance and to develop nuclear weapons.

The CRS states, "In 2011, the US led in arms transfer agreements worldwide, making agreements valued at $66.3 billion (77.7% of all such agreements), an extraordinary increase from $21.4 billion in 2010. The US worldwide agreements total in 2011 is the largest for a single year in the history of the US arms export program." Russia was in second place with $4.8 billion in arms agreements.

Although the global economic slowdown has reduced arms sales in recent years, rising tension in the Persian Gulf have prodded Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE to accelerate their arms procurements. Weapons sold to Saudi Arabia include new F-15SA fighter jets, munitions, missiles, and logistics support equipment, as well as the upgrade of 70 F-15S fighters. Saudi Arabia also purchases dozens of Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. Saudi arms purchases from the US totaled $33.4 billion in 2011.

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