The Report says 60 percent of global military spending came from five countries: The United States ($649 billion), China ($250 billion), Saudi Arabia ($67.6 billion), India ($66.5 billion) and France ($63.8 billion). Russia ($61.4 billion) and the United Kingdom ($50 billion) were the other two countries to spend $50 billion or more on defense.
There is now a clear link between the biggest reckless spender and arms exporter and the conflicts in the Muslim world. The consequences have been ruinous for the long-term economic stability of the Middle East, but they go far beyond the economic. Massive levels of war-related humanitarian sufferings have had lasting repercussions of all sorts in places like Syria and Yemen as well. One potentially devastating effect is more societal inequality, instability, famine and despair.
The staggering costs of the US wars and arms - almost 18 years running, since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 - are being deferred to the future. Greater Middle East - and still spreading, through Africa and other regions - is far larger and more ruinous than most American officials recognise.
These wars have been caused by the War Party’s wish to take control of other countries’ wealth. Whatever the other geopolitical reasons for the endless wars may be, there have been almost always an economic motive underlying most of these conflicts, even if the stated aim of the wars was presented to the public as something more noble like democracy and liberty.
It’s interesting to note that US arms exports during the same period increased by 50 percent (2013-2018). The new deals and further major contracts signed in 2018 with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states will ensure that the United States remains the largest arms exporter in the coming years. It will also make sure that under-development, instability and human suffering will remain business as usual.
US arms exports to the Middle East will continue to fuel war and conflict in the region. Widespread violent conflicts in the Middle East and concerns about human rights won’t lead to any political decisions in restricting arms sales either. The United States and European states will remain the main arms exporters to the region and supply the highest percentage of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
According to a SIPRI study, which monitors arms deliveries by volume every five years to iron out short-term fluctuations, Saudi Arabia continues to be the world's largest importer of arms, and the United States continues to account for almost all arms exports to Saudi Arabia, followed by Britain and others.
In the prevailing circumstances, expect more US-backed conflicts and greater man-made humanitarian crises in the region. Also expect greater defeats and bankruptcies for US allies. The officials at the department of Pentagon see it – they have learned a lesson or two from their own failed wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. But they don’t care. Saudi Arabia and its allies are paying the price and the astronomical bills for America’s endless wars on Syria and Yemen.