US Arms Exports Under Obama Increase 27 Percent

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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U.S. arms sales across the globe have grown significantly under the last five years of President Barack Obama’s tenure, according to a Monday report from The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The report concludes that U.S. arms sales across the globe from 2011-2015 increased by 27 percent compared to that same time period from 2006-2010. Global arms exports as a whole increased by 14 percent. The U.S. is the world’s largest arms exporter, with one-third of all exports emanating from the U.S.

“As regional conflicts and tensions continue to mount, the USA remains the leading global arms supplier by a significant margin,” said Dr. Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program, in a press statement, “the USA has sold or donated major arms to at least 96 states in the past five years, and the U.S. arms industry has large outstanding export orders, including for a total of 611 F-35 combat aircraft to 9 states.”

Coming in at a close second was Russia, followed by China, France and Germany. Included with the U.S., the top five arms exporters together make up 74 percent of arms exports. The U.S. and Russia by themselves make up about 58 percent. Though the U.S. and Russia have been leading arms exporters for some time, China has made strides in selling weapons abroad, increasing sales by a remarkable 88 percent in the five-year period.

The numbers for those importing weapons appear to correlate to various world events.

India, which has made strides in becoming a major international player, was the largest arms importer in the five-year period, taking a 14 percent share of all purchases. India’s defense spending between 1997 and 2015 doubled, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi increasing the 2015-2106 budget by 11 percent. The country is expected to spend $100 billion to revamp its military over the next ten years.

Saudi Arabia has feverishly bought weapons from 2011-2015, increasing imports by a massive 275 percent. During this same time period, Saudi Arabia serious expressed concern over the growing influence of its neighbor Iran, particularly after the signing of the Iran nuclear deal in July. Saudi Arabia has also showcased its military hardware in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and is poised to possibly get involved in the conflict in Syria.

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