Global Military Spending Continued to Fall in 2013

File photo.

World military expenditure totalled USD 1.75T in 2013, a fall of 1.9% since 2012, according to figures released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The fall in the global total comes from decreases in Western countries, led by the United States, and despite increases in all other regions. In fact, military spending in the rest of the world excluding the USA increased by 1.8%.

The next three highest spenders, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, all made substantial increases, with Saudi Arabia surpassing the United Kingdom, Japan and France to become the world's fourth largest military spender. China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are among the 23 countries around the world that have more than doubled their military expenditure since 2004, the SIPRI report released on Monday showed.

The fall in US spending in 2013, by 7.8%, is the 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. Meanwhile, austerity policies continued to determine trends in Western and Central Europe and in other Western countries.

Military spending in the Middle East increased by 4.0% in 2013, reaching an estimated USD 150B. Saudi Arabia's spending increased by 14%, to reach USD 67B.

The largest regional increase was by Iraq – 27%, as it continued the rebuilding of its armed forces.

Military spending data for Iran, Qatar, Syria and the United Arab Emirates are not available for 2013, rendering the estimated regional total highly uncertain. This reflects the general opacity of military spending in the region, and even where data is available it may not cover all military spending, the press release...

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