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Bahrain’s military costs surge 26pc to top $1.2bn

Manama, April 16, 2014

Bahrain’s military expenditure increased by 26 per cent last year to $1.236 billion - and has rocketed by 110 per cent since 2004, a report said, adding that tensions with Iran caused defence spending to more than double in a decade.

Military spending in the rest of the world, excluding the US, increased by just 1.8 per cent last year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was quoted as saying in the report by the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

"Military spending in the Middle East increased by 4 per cent in 2013, reaching an estimated $150 billion," said the SIPRI's Trends in Military Expenditure in 2013 report.

An outlay of $67 billion last year meant Saudi Arabia was the biggest defence spender in the region.

Iranian tensions were again credited with prompting a 14 per cent increase in Saudi defence expenditure compared to 2012.

In contrast, military expenditure in Oman fell by 27 per cent compared to 2012, but was still 31 per cent higher than in 2011.

The SIPRI report states that figures for military expenditure in the Middle East have traditionally been uncertain and there was no available data for Iran, Qatar, Syria, the UAE or Yemen.

"The increase in military spending in emerging and developing countries continues unabated," said SIPRI's Military Expenditure Programme director Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman.

Globally, military expenditure fell in real terms last year by 1.9 per cent to reach $1,747 billion.

The report describes the global, regional and national trends in military expenditure with a special focus on those countries that have more than doubled their military spending between 2004 and last year.

A total of 23 countries doubled their military spending in real terms between 2004 and 2013, the report says.

The five biggest spenders last year were the US, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and France - although military spending by the Americans fell by 7.8 per cent to $640 billion.

"A large part of the fall can be attributed to the reduction in spending on overseas (US) military operations," states the report.

SIPRI describes itself as an independent international institute that has offices in Beijing and Washington and is dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Defence spending |

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