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The Middle East Emerges as An Arms Exporter

The Middle East Emerges as An Arms Exporter
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By Staff, Agencies

The Middle East and North Africa region is emerging as a significant arms-producing area, according to an overview of the arms industry by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI] published on 1 November 2022.

The development marks a pivotal shift for a region that has historically relied on outside powers like Russia and the US for military acquisitions and build-ups.

While the Zionist occupation regime has maintained its spot as the main arms exporter in the Middle East, Turkey has been positioning itself as key producer.

Turkey was already the 12th largest supplier of major arms globally before the war in Ukraine. It has since shot to prominence by supplying Bayraktar TB-2 drones to Kiev.

The rewiring of the arms trade in the Middle East comes as traditional superpowers reassess their ability and willingness to sell arms abroad.

Middle Eastern states are working to shore up their domestic manufacturing.

In March 2022, the chief executive of Saudi Arabian Military Industries [SAMI] revealed that the kingdom plans to produce a Saudi-made drone and establish one of the world's biggest munitions factories. Riyadh has also turned to China for technological assistance.

Even Jordan, a relatively small military player compared to its neighbors, is emerging as an arms exporter. According to SIPRI, the country of 10 million was the 25th largest supplier of armaments in the world between 2017-2021, although this was mainly due to the export of second-hand equipment like combat helicopters and armored personnel carriers.

A recent pragmatic drive by some regional states has also opened room for more military cooperation.

The UAE and Turkey found themselves on opposing ends of the conflict in Libya and wider issues such as support for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, they have since moved to repair ties, and in September the UAE purchased 20 Bayraktar TB2 drones from Ankara.