Saudi Arabia

A regional power, Saudi Arabia, led by the al Saud dynasty, was founded in 1932. Sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the Kingdom is often described as a crucial ally for the United States. However, the Saudis have long exported their radical Wahhabi ideology abroad, fomenting extremism among Muslim communities across the globe. In 1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia allowed foreign troops to deploy to its territory, prompting an outcry from Saudi radicals, including the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Saudi Arabia continues to struggle with its extremist threat, with failed attempts to re-educate terrorists who very often return to the battlefield.  Internally, the country also has unresolved problems with its repressed Shia minority in the Eastern Province, who have erupted in protest sporadically during the Arab Spring. Some are believed to be inspired by Iran, which harbors a longstanding animosity for their Sunni regional rivals.  Saudi Arabia has the largest defense budget in the Middle East and became the world’s largest arms importer in 2014.

  • GDP
    $727.3 Billion
  • Military EXHD
    9.1% of GDP
  • Fit for Service
    13,043,443
  • Population
    27,345,986

Deep in Yemen war, Saudi fight against Iran falters

At a hospital in the Yemeni city of Marib, demand for artificial limbs from victims of the country’s war is so high that prosthetics are made on site in a special workshop. A soldier with an artificial arm hitches up his robe to reveal a stump where his leg once was. He is angry that authorities have done little to help him since he was wounded. “I was at the front and a mortar exploded near me. We fought well, but now I get no salary, no support from the government or anyone. They just left us,” said Hassan Meigan.

Fuel Crisis Hits Yemen’s Capital as Saudis Tighten Blockade | World News |

Hundreds of cars lined the main roads of Yemen’s capital after the rebels who control the city ordered fuel stations to close on Wednesday, accusing merchants of taking advantage of a Saudi blockade to hike prices. A Saudi-led military coalition tightened its blockade in Yemen this week after a ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels was intercepted near the Saudi capital. Aid groups say the measures will exacerbate an already severe humanitarian crisis in the impoverished, war-torn country.

U.S. calls for U.N. action against Iran over Yemen missile

The United States accused Iran on Tuesday of supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two U.N. Security Council resolutions. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said information released by Saudi Arabia showed the missile fired in July was an Iranian Qiam, which she described as “a type of weapon that had not been present in Yemen before the conflict.”

Boeing wins $222m Chinook order for Saudi Arabia

The Boeing Co.-Philadelphia, Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $222,549,505 firm-fixed-price modification (P00069) to contract W58RGZ-13-C-0002 for eight each CH-47F new build helicopters to support the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC). Work will be performed in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2021. Fiscal 2017 foreign military […]

Saudi Arabia Unveils Armed UAV

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) unveiled its Saqr 1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 11 May. The KACST said the Saqr 1 UAV is equipped with a satellite communications system, has an automatic take-off and landing capability, and is made from lightweight carbon and glass fibre materials to reduce its […]

Congress OK with Saudi Missile Defense Sale Amid Warming Israel-Gulf Ties

The Donald Trump administration’s interest in selling an advanced anti-missile system to Saudi Arabia is expected to easily clear Congress in a sign of warming Arab-Israeli ties. Israel is not objecting to the proposed sale of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system, according to several Washington sources, assuaging US lawmakers’ concerns that […]

U.S. Backs Saudi Claim about Iranian Missile Support to Yemeni Rebels

Regional tensions escalated as Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for an attempted missile strike on its capital by Yemeni rebels. On November 4, Saudi defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels (also known as Ansar Allah) at a Riyadh airport. President Trump quickly endorsed Saudi claims of Iranian responsibility, telling reporters, “A shot was just taken by Iran, […]

The Saudi-led Coalition Is Not Ready to Fight the Islamic State

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited Saudi Arabia last week hoping to reassure nervous Gulf allies that American security commitments remain in force in the wake of last year’s Iran nuclear deal. In exchange, the White House was hoping to encourage the Gulf states to play a more active role in the […]

The Mideast’s Precision Guided Arms Race

Precision guided munitions (PGMs) encompass a growing range of bombs and missiles designed to destroy targets on land, at sea, or in the air. While platforms like fighters, armored vehicles, and warships often receive more attention, their lethality is almost negligible if not bolstered by advanced munitions. With minor updates, today’s PGMs allow even older […]

The Saudis’ New Warships Are Missing Something

The U.S. State Department approved an $11.25-billion sale last month of four Lockheed Martin “Multi-Mission Surface Combatants,” or MMSCs, for the Royal Saudi Navy. While the announcement is only for a “possible” purchase, the deal is likely to move forward given Saudi Arabia’s need to update its aging Persian Gulf fleet. The sale comes as […]

Containment: The Gulf States’ Game Plan for Yemen

The Saudi-led international coalition operating in Yemen announced late last month it had ended the first phase of its nearly month-long campaign in the country. Though the coalition fell short of its stated goal of returning Yemen’s internationally recognized government to power, it insists that in removing the threat of spillover to Yemen’s neighbors, it […]

IDEX 2015: Middle East Arms Market Remains Strong

With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and an increasingly aggressive Iran, Gulf Arab states are spending billions to improve their defenses and better protect their energy infrastructure. Nowhere has this been more evident than last month’s International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi. The region’s largest defense exhibition attracted officials from […]

An Edge in the Desert

Weapons are pouring into the Middle East at an unprecedented rate. The Pentagon recently announced that it would sell six tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to Israel for $1.3 billion, American hardware (including Apache helicopters) is being rushed to the Iraqi government to help in its battle against al Qaeda, and Washington has also restored military aid to Egypt after a brief hiatus. But Uncle […]

Category Name
QME

Active Armaments
On Order
Air Defense Systems 1,696* (0)

Aircraft 737* (447*)

Artillery 750 (136)

Ground Vehicles 7,134* (1,516*)

Guided Munitions 25,533* (24,959*)

Personnel 233,500 (0)

Ships 34* (103*)