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UAE spends billions on arms imports despite plummeting revenues

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has spent billions of dollars on buying weapons over the past years, draining the country's financial liquidity at a time when revenues have plummeted amid crude price rout and the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Latest figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show the tiny country imported a total of $4.98 billion worth of arms between 2015 and 2019.

The purchases made the UAE the eighth-largest arms importer in the world during the period, with more than two-thirds of all purchased weapons coming from the US.

The data, however, does not include any additional expenditures on the UAE’s military forces, or the financing of its military interventions in Yemen and Libya.

In Yemen, Abu Dhabi is a key party to a Saudi-led military coalition that has been waging a bloody war on the impoverished country since early 2015.

In Libya, the UAE supports forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar, who has been trying to storm Tripoli and unseat the internationally-recognized government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The UN says Abu Dhabi has supplied aircraft and military vehicles to Haftar.Turkey: UAE bringing chaos to Mideast through interventions in Libya, YemenTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slams the UAE for ‘bringing chaos’ to the Middle East through its interventions in Libya and Yemen.

According to the SIPRI figures, the UAE’s arms imports stood at $1.22 billion, $955 million, $965 million, $1.2 billion and $644 million, between 2015 and 2019, respectively.

The military expenditure comes as the economy of the oil-rich Persian Gulf Arab country has been rocked by slumping oil prices driven by the decrease in demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, the central bank of the UAE predicted that the country’s economy is likely to contract by 3.6 percent this year.

In the first quarter of 2020, it said, the UAE economy shrank by 1 percent year on year, with non-oil gross domestic product down by 3 percent.

Back in April, the UAE’s capital city of Abu Dhabi sold $7 billion in bonds in a bid to gain extra liquidity.

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