Wednesday 24 February 2021
News ID: 87846
Publish Date: 21 February 2021 - 21:05
RIYADH (Dispatches) – The Saudi regime has announced plans to pump $20bn into producing more of its own weapons and military systems over the next decade in order to go on an even deadlier killing spree in the region.
The country, which is engaged in a war on impoverished neighboring Yemen, wants to spend at least half of its military budget locally by 2030, the head of the regime’s military industry regulator said on Saturday.
"We will be investing in excess of $10bn in the military industry in Saudi Arabia over the next decade and equal amounts on research and development,” the governor of the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Ohali, told a military conference in Abu Dhabi.
He also said the kingdom plans to increase military research and development spending from 0.2 percent to around four percent of armaments expenditure by 2030.
The announcement follows the U.S. decision last month to declare a temporary freeze on some arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
U.S. President Joe Biden’s new administration announced it would pause the implementation of recent Trump-era weapons deals, including the sale of munitions to Saudi Arabia and F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.
Following the move, aimed at pressuring the countries to end the war in Yemen, other countries have also faced calls to stop selling weapons to the Persian Gulf states.
The UK government has faced criticism from activists after it was revealed that $1.9bn in arms sales were approved between July and September 2020, immediately after a ban on sales to Saudi Arabia was lifted.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MbS, who has drawn criticism for pursuing confrontational policies in the region, has already said he wishes the kingdom to produce or assemble half of its military equipment locally.
MbS, who formed close relations with former U.S. President Donald Trump, purchased tens of billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. arms from the Republican president.
The Saudi regime’s imports of major arms increased significantly during the Trump tenure. The Arab state was the world’s largest weapons importer from 2015 to 2019, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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