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A more extrovert foreign policy and concerns over a resurgent Iran ensured Saudi defense spending continues to grow despite economic pain from low oil prices.
Despite a dramatic fall in oil income, Saudi Arabia’s arms expenditure continues to rise, completely dwarfing that of any other country in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, published in April.
The kingdom’s $87.19bn expenditure in 2015 was almost four times that of the UAE, which ranked second in the region (based on 2014 figures), and more than five times that of Israel, ranked third. In fact, the kingdom’s expenditure on arms was as much as the next seven countries in the region combined.
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