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Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Edge, Persian Gulf Monarchies Step Up Defense Spending

Arab Woman Led Airstrikes Over SyriaFacing a host of military threats, the oil-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf have been boosting outlays for defense equipment—providing a shot in the arm for Western arms suppliers facing government cutbacks in much of the rest of the world.

Lower oil prices may eventually damp the buying binge, as they did during a price slump in 1999. But for now, weapon sales to Middle East buyers, chief among them Saudi Arabia, are booming.

Riyadh spent $80.8 billion on defense last year, up almost 43% from just two years earlier and trailing only the U.S. and China, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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