REPORT: ARMS SALES AND SECURITY IN THE GULF

This Bussola workshop explored the dynamics of the international debate around sales of armaments and military equipment, with particular reference to the Gulf states. While US and European manufacturers remain the principal sources of military supply for Gulf customers, the Workshop examined the extent to which these long-standing relationships are likely to endure, and whether the growing importance of Asian markets for Gulf countries is likely to engender change, and what impact this could have on broader matters of regional security and the future shape of defence relationships between the Gulf states and the rest of the world.

REPORT: ARMS SALES AND SECURITY IN THE GULF

Author

Bussola Institute

Date

August 7, 2019

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OVERVIEW


On Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, the Bussola Institute conducted a Workshop to consider the political, economic and strategic issues related to international arms sales to the Gulf states and their in¬fluence on the security of the region. The Workshop was led by Bussola’s Senior Advisor for Research, Dr Christian Koch, and the principal speakers were Professor David des Roches, from the National Defense University in Washington DC, and Dr David Roberts from King’s College London.

The Workshop set out to explore the dynamics of the international debate around sales of armaments and other types of military equipment, with particular reference to the Gulf states, which remain some of the largest and most important customers for international defence suppliers. While the US and European manufacturers remain the principal sources of military equipment for Gulf customers, the Workshop also sought to understand the extent to which these old and long-standing supply relationships will endure, and whether the growing importance of Asian markets for Gulf countries is likely to engender some change, and what impact this could have on broader matters of regional security and the future shape of defence relationships.

Des Roches pointed out that the Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, continue to be some of the largest export markets for defence sales from around the world. This tallies with continuing high levels of defence expenditure across the Gulf, which has been intensi ed over the past four years by operational requirements in Yemen. He also emphasised that for European states, it is essential to maintain high levels of defence export sales, not only to support this lucrative component of overall foreign trade but also to enable countries to retain certain key defence manufacturing capabilities that would otherwise not be economically viable if they were limited only to supplying domestic markets. This is different from the United States where the domestic market is still of sufficient size to maintain key defence capabilities such as military aircraft manufacture and naval ship-building.

Learn more in the PDF of the report on this page.