[ClickPress, Mon Feb 17 2014] Like many aspects of Saudi Arabia's security posture, the country has traditionally been highly secretive regarding the size of its defence budget. It does not reveal or publish its annual spending levels, or the levels of its defence imports and exports. In 2013, BMI anticipated that the country spent US$68.8bn on defence.
We expect increases in defence spending to US$78.2bn in 2014
It was reported in November 2013 that Saudi Arabia was considering the purchase of conventional hunterkiller submarines from Germany. Riyadh is thought to be especially interested in the Type-209 boat which is built by German shipbuilders.
Underlining the threat that Saudi Arabia continues to face from internal terrorism, five Al-Qaeda militants were convicted in a Saudi court in January 2014 of a plot to attack an oil refinery in the city of Yanbu on the country's Red Sea coast. They were given prison sentences of up to 25 years, and the individuals included 15 Saudi nationals and a Yemeni. Earlier in late December 2013, Saudi Arabia announced that it had closed down an al-Qaeda cell, in cooperation with the authorities in the United Arab Emirates, thought to be planning attacks throughout the Kingdom.
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Saudi Arabia is also enhancing its role in Lebanon having made a grant worth US$3bn to the country for the purchase of military equipment. The money is expected to be used by the Lebanese government to purchase military equipment from France. Meanwhile, in late December 2013 it was announced that Saudi Arabia was leading the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council to build a multinational force of 100,000 personnel under a Joint Military Command (JMC). The JMC is expected to be headquartered in Riyadh and could include a substantial contribution from Saudi Arabia's National Guard.
In late November 2013, it was reported locally in Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom is expected to soon make diplomatic overtures to Iran in the wake of a landmark deal over the Islamic Republic's clandestine nuclear weapons programme with the international community which will allow for some intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities.
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