Experts are predicting that Saudi Arabia may be compelled to forego new weapons contracts and postpone already-agreed weapons purchases as a financial crisis due to coronavirus pandemic grips the kingdom. The expected deferral of deals of new weapons could have long term political repercussions for the nation under the rule of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown sovereign and accepted ruler who has pursued a bleeding war with neighbouring Yemen.
According to the research by the Stockholm International Peace Institute, Saudi Arabia spent about $62bn (£51bn) in buying weapons a year ago, making it the fifth-biggest spender on arms globally. In spite of the fact that figure was less than in 2018, it still represents about 8% of the country’s GDP, implying that the country spent the bigger portion of its wealth on arms than the United States (3.4%), China (1.9%), Russia (3.9%), or India (2.4).
Saudi Arabia is confronting an exceptional budget crunch due to the downfall of the oil markets and the worldwide financial strife caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has diminished oil interest for years to come. The senior fellow at Brookings in Washington and 30-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, Bruce Riedel who has served as an adviser on Middle East issues to several US administrations said that there is no doubt, it is the end of an era. The era of the Persian Gulf having this money is over.
This spending has bolstered the political clout of the country, for decades. The specialist on defilement and the worldwide arms exchange, Andrew Feinstein said that if the kingdom of Saudi Arabia wasn’t by far one of the biggest purchasers of weapons you most likely couldn’t depend on the uncritical help of ground-breaking western forces. One of the results of buying weapons is that you are buying relationships and there is no doubt about it.
In the United States, Donald Trump has in the past highlighted Saudi’s proposed weapons purchases – and inflated estimates about its impact on the jobs in the United States – for justifying the soft response of his administration to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who was the journalist of Washington Post.
England offers a greater number of arms to Saudi Arabia than to some other nation – more than £4.7bn since the realm started a besieging effort against Yemen in March 2015 – and Boris Johnson has confronted analysis for permitting deals to proceed regardless of worries that the United Kingdom has gambled being in penetrate of global philanthropic law by helping the Saudi battle. Riedel and others believe that the Saudi government will have minimal decision however to defer military spending, now and again for all time.
At the Campaign against Arms Trade, Andrew Smith said that he expects that they may in the short term put off focusing on some bigger purchases, such as the new set of fighter jets, for instance, which Britain has been haggling for a long while.
Gerald Feierstein, another expert who was the former ambassador of U.S to Yemen, said it would be simple for the Saudis to defer or drop new weapons contracts, however, that the Saudi government would probably need to proceed with upkeep agreements to keep its present power operable. Feierstein said Saudi Arabia has in the past looked to renegotiate instalment plans for weapons, stretching out instalments over extensive stretches of time.
Kirsten Fontenrose, who served as senior director for Gulf affairs at the National Security Council, said that she thinks that the financial crisis due to coronavirus pandemic is going to affect all the spending of the country. She added that would be the way of escaping the political repercussions and maintaining some of the leverage with the private sector.