efense expenditure in the Middle East will cross the $100 billion mark in the coming five years, mainly due to deals Gulf states are closing out of fear of Iran’s nuclear program, the Frost & Sullivan consulting firm said, in a report released Sunday.
In 2008, for example, Saudi Arabia spent close to $36b. on defense platforms and it will likely spend the same amount over the coming five years.
Israel is in second place and will have spent some $13b. by the end of 2009, according to the report.
“Israel’s spending has been quite consistent as it has built a very effective and modern military with the most cutting-edge technologies,” the report said. “It is still expected to keep spending to stay ahead of its regional adversaries in order to protect its interests.”
Israel is interested in purchasing the stealth F-35 fighter jet as well as two new missile ships. UAE and Saudi Arabia have invested billions of dollars in recent years in ballistic missile defense systems, such as the THAAD, which was recently approved for sale to the UAE as the first customer outside of the US.