Where and how much American-made arms end up

Washington-Saudi Arabia was the top recipient of American-made arms from 2011-2015, followed closely by the United Arab Emirates, according to research compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which has been analysing international arms transfers since 1968.

The research says US is responsible for nearly 33% of worldwide exports - by far the top arms exporter on the planet.

Now with the end of the U.S. arms embargo, Vietnam will join a long list of international recipients of American armaments.

The rest of the top 10 included Turkey, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Iraq, and Egypt.

Experts believe the Middle East will remain a top destination for weapons for some time - it currently accounts for about 40% of U.S. arms exports - especially given the rise of ISIS.

"The dynamic of the [falling] oil prices has been overwhelmed by the deep insecurity these countries are currently feeling and the insecure future they feel they face," Andrew Hunter of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies told CNN.

Hunter, the director of the defence-industrial initiatives group, said that the countries in the region were "prioritising defence" over other spending.

The American exports include everything from small arms to fighter jet aircraft and tanks, to Patriot Missile batteries.

Several Asian countries are also represented high up on the arms sales list.

The day after the US announced it would lift its arms embargo against Vietnam, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that Vietnam needs the military equipment it will get in order to defend itself.

While most of the top importers use their own money to buy arms from the U.S., the U.S. also provides some countries with grants and loans - separate from the arms sales - to purchase defence equipment from American manufacturers, as part of a programme called Foreign Military Financing.

The State Department's 2017 budget request includes approximately $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing.

In the proposed budget, the top recipients of American foreign military financing will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million) and Iraq ($150 million).

While Israel is supposed to spend this money on U.S. arms, some of that country's most expensive purchases, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter have yet to be delivered and are therefore not reflected in SIPRI's statistics.

While the Middle East tops the list, funding for African armies in 2017 will more than double from last year, likely a consequence of increased terrorist activity in places like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria.

Hunter said that U.S. defence companies were explicit in their desire to boost international exports in the wake of recent defence budget cuts.

At a media day event in March, the CEO of U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin, Marillyn Hewson, said, "One area where we expect the majority of our growth potential to come from in the years ahead is our international customers."

Other major arms exporters after the U.S. include Russia, China, France, and Germany.

Source: Pakistan Observer