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Despite a huge drop in oil earnings, Mideast nations continue to spend more of their national income on defense than anywhere else in the world. Saudi Arabia last year overtook Russia to become world #3.
Saudi Arabia’s defense spending grew by 8% to $87.2bn in 2015 (in current $US terms), overtaking Russia to make it the third-largest spender in the world after the US and China, according to the latest figures published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Iraq saw the fastest growth in the Middle East and Africa region, with an increase in spending of 38%.
The strong growth in spending in both countries far surpassed global growth in military expenditure, which in 2014 dollar terms (ie adjusted for inflation) grew by just 1% to $1.7trn in 2015. On this basis Mideast spending grew by 4.1% last year.
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