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Tuesday, 13 November 2012 - Highlight, Press

Middle East remains in top position of Global Militarization Index

With an Update 2012, BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion) continues its Global Militarization Index (GMI). The updated Index shows the degree of militarization of 135 countries for the year 2011 and documents the development of up to 153 countries since 1990. The Update confirms the trend of the past years according to which the countries of the Middle East show the highest degree of militarization in the world. Tendencies towards higher regional militarization can also be found in Asia and the Caucasus. Large-scale arms procurements increase the danger of regional arms races.

 

Israel, Singapore, Syria, Russia, Jordan, Cyprus, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Saudi-Arabia are now the top ten of the Global Militarization Index (GMI). This is the result of an evaluation of the most recent data (based on the latest surveys of 2011). With US $689 billion, the United States still has the highest military budget in the world. In the GMI 2012, it holds position 30 of 135.

The Index defines the degree of militarization of a country by, amongst others, the comparison of military expenditures with its gross domestic product (GDP) or other indicators, such as health expenditure or number of physicians.

Middle East way ahead

As Jan Grebe, Project Leader at BICC, explains, “the Middle East has been one of the most critical regions of crisis and conflict for years. This is also reflected in the Index, which shows the constantly high degree of militarization in these countries. Six of the first top ten countries of the GMI are Israel (position 1), Syria (position 3), Jordan (position 5), Kuwait (position 8), Bahrain (position 9) and Saudi Arabia (position 10).

Nearly all other Middle Eastern states can be found among the first 40 positions. Iran, for instance, is in position 34. Against the background of political uprisings, continuing unrests in some states and the war in Syria, the inherent danger of high degrees of militarization is destabilizing the region further. Large-scale arms procurements, such as the interest of Saudi-Arabia and Qatar in German tanks, are signs for the development of a regional arms race,” Jan Grebe warns. 

Global Militarization Index (GMI)

Full text press release (in English) (pdf)

Full text press release (in German) (pdf)