The release of the latest US congressional review has shown the global arms market continues to grow and that US arms sales have more than doubled from the previous year – 2010.
Total worldwide weapon sales nearly doubled to $85.3 billion, the US made $66.3 billion of these up from $21.4 billion in 2010. The report found Russia, the nation with the second highest weapon sales, sold only a mere $4.8 billion worth of arms.
Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest purchaser of global arms and America’s biggest customer in this period of economic uncertainty. In total Saudi purchased $33.4 billion, from the US. This was mainly comprised of 84 advanced F-15 fighter jets.
Saudi Arabia has for the last decade been one of biggest importers of arms. Whilst Saudi Arabia produces very little military equipment it has used its energy wealth to arm itself with the worlds most sophisticated and latest weaponry. Whilst much of this keeps foreign workers employed, Saudi actions globally do not reflect this position. In fact Saudi Arabia operates from a position of weakness even though it possesses the world’s coveted black gold.
Saudi Arabia claims to represent the Ummah as it maintains guardianship over the two Holy Mosques. However this has not been the case with regards to its foreign policy and relations with the wider Ummah. We find Saudi’s weapons inventory includes the latest battle tanks (the M–1A2 Abrams and 290 AMX–30), its air force is composed of over 300 jets which include the newly acquired Eurofighter Typhoons and upgraded Tornado IDS, F-15 Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle fighter planes. It would surprise many to learn that Saudi military strength and technology is a match for many European nations and is superior to Israel in many areas.
Put within the context of this wealth of military riches, the inability of the Saudi regime to provide any protection to Muslims in recent crisis seems nothing short of criminal. The recent massacre in Burma is a case in point. Saudi Arabia in one stroke could have brought the whole episode to an end through the sheer force of its arms, even the threat of action from such a force would likely have been sufficient. The Burmese army has virtually no experience against a conventional fighting force as most of its history has been busy in various counter insurgencies. Burma’s 30 F7’s would have been no match against Saudi’s modern Eurofighter typhoon. The MiG-29’s (1970’s model, purchased in 1996 from Russia as used surplus stock) are probably the most “modern,” jets Burma has. Their air defence equipment is outdated and even Chinese weapons supplied to Burma are older models. In the event of a strike, Saudi jets would be heading home before the Burmese even knew they had been hit.
Military equipment, technology and progress are useless if not matched with global ambition. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم fought in many wars with his infantry outnumbered by the enemy, but through ambition he managed to conquer the Arabian Peninsula. His Sahaba took the deen to China and the coasts of the Atlantic, whilst dealing with the Persian and Roman empires. Today’s Saudi Arabia is largely an artificial creation from the 19th century and with successive rulers working to achieve the aims of the global powers in the region rather than pursuing their own ambitions.
This episode shows what is lacking is not technology, nor weapons. Rather it is the lack of ambition and political will, and an attachment to western political goals which is nothing short of a master-slave relationship. The Arab spring has shown that this relationship has had its day and the Saudi Monarchy should take notice at what has happened to the other lackeys in the region.