[Disarmo] Global military spending drops, led by US: SIPRI

Global military spending drops, led by US: SIPRI
STOCKHOLM: World military expenditure fell in 2013 as the United States and 
other Western countries cut back, but spending in emerging economies grew, a 
Swedish think tank said on Monday.

The 1.9 per cent global decline followed a 0.4 per cent drop in 2012, the 
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

"The increase in military spending in emerging and developing countries 
continues unabated," said Sam Perlo-Freeman, director of SIPRI's Military 
Expenditure Programme.

"While in some cases it is the natural result of economic growth or a response 
to genuine security needs, in other cases it represents a squandering of 
natural resource revenues, the dominance of autocratic regimes, or emerging 
regional arms races."

The world spent $1.75 trillion (1.26 trillion euro) on the military in 2013, 
according to SIPRI's data, which accounted for inflation.

The decrease was led by a 7.8 per cent fall posted by the United States, the 
world's largest spender, as a result of the end of the war in Iraq, the 
beginning of the drawdown from Afghanistan, and the effects of automatic budget 
cuts passed by the US Congress in 2011.

But the next three highest spenders -- China, Russia and Saudi Arabia -- are 
among 23 countries around the world that have more than doubled their military 
expenditure since 2004.

China increased its spending by 7.4 per cent in 2013, while its territorial 
disputes in the region have in turn prompted neighbouring countries to step up 
their military outlays.

"Japan's concerns over China's growing military power, combined with the 
Japanese government's own nationalist policies, have led to Japan ending its 
long, gradual decline in military spending," said Perlo-Freeman.

"Nevertheless, the largest increase in the region in 2013 was by Afghanistan, 
by 77 per cent, as it builds up its security forces in preparation from the 
withdrawal of most foreign troops at the end of 2014."

In the Middle East, military spending increased by four per cent, led by Saudi 
Arabia, which leapfrogged the United Kingdom, Japan and France to become the 
world's fourth largest military spender.

Tensions with Iran and fears of an "Arab Spring"-type revolt were the likely 
main factors explaining the Saudi increase of 14 per cent, according to SIPRI.

However, the estimated total for the Middle East is highly uncertain, as data 
for 2013 are not available from Iran, Qatar, Syria and the United Arab 

"This reflects the general opacity of military spending in the region, and 
even where data is available it may not cover all military spending," said 

In Africa, spending rose by 8.3 per cent, driven by growing oil revenues in 
the case of countries such as Algeria and Angola, SIPRI said.