IISS: Middle Eastern countries spent $44 billion less on arms than previously thought

Defence spending by Middle East countries is some $44 billion a year less than previously thought, according to analysis by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Government expenditure in the region is often opaque and that is particularly true when it comes to defence and security, where the line between the two has often been particularly blurry. As a result, some domestic security spending, such as on policing or anti-narcotics, has ended up being included in defence budget assessments.

The IISS said it had conducted an audit of defence spending in the Middle East and found some large anomalies in the figures previously reported for some countries.

In a blog post published on November 27, the think-tank said it had reviewed governments’ defence spending in light of greater transparency by some countries in recent years.

The Saudi government, for example, has since 2016 separated out its military spending from its security and regional administration expenditure – the latter includes non-military security organisations under the Interior Ministry, including the police force.

In the case of Israel, the IISS said research had shown that annual military aid from the U.S. of $3.3 billion was actually being counted twice.

In other cases, some additional defence-related spending has been added to the figures for Bahrain, Kuwait and Morocco, such as funding for the National Guards. READ MORE HERE