Saudi Arabia ranks third in the list of the most powerful militaries in the Middle East. Here are some data.
$56.7 billion defense budget
233,500 active frontline personnel
The territorially largest country in the Middle East also has the fourth-highest military spending of any country in the world. The country’s arms buildup has largely been driven by sales from the US and other Western countries.
As a result, Saudi Arabia has the most updated arsenal in the region, with the exception of Israel. Its air force has air-to-air refueling capabilities and advanced fighter jets.
“Saudi Arabia has a lot of air capabilities that a lot of the countries in the region don’t have,” Megahan said, adding that it was plausible the Saudis could soon have a more advanced air force than even Israel.
Saudi Arabia is in a tough neighborhood — the country borders Iraq and Yemen, two of the most chronically unstable countries in the region. But with 36% of the population under the age of 24, a sclerotic monarchy, and sectarian tensions, Saudi Arabia might be building its military strength with future internal turmoil in mind.
Indeed, Harmer says that Saudi Arabia’s national guard — which is responsible for internal security, and not organized with external defense in mind — is one of the most capable security forces in the entire region.
Key allies: The relationship with the US has been flagging in recent years, but the two are still close partners and Saudi Arabia is still a major purchaser of US arms. Saudi Arabia is the most powerful of the tightly allied Gulf monarchies, a group that includes Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, and Riyadh has provided substantial assistance to the post-coup government in Egypt. It is also speculated that Saudi Arabia has secretly funded Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.
Source: Business Insider UK 2014