Friday, January 23, 2015

Why Does Saudi Arabia Have Such A Large Military?

In a comment a while back, Interweb Amigo Tim pointed out that Saudi Arabia has one of the largest armies in the world. Fourth largest, if I recall correctly. Here's why.


Trigger Warning said...

I recall he said something different; Saudi doesn't break the global top five or even ten (I think), in Army (power), Army (personnel), Air Force, or Navy. They really can't project power.

The big boys are just who you think they would be... the US, China, Russia, DPRK, UK.

Nevertheless, the Saudis do have a relatively large military force for their niche, loaded down with American fighter jets. Their training and commitment may leave something to be desired, but they live in a tough neighborhood and own a lot of shiny baubles.

Their real weapon is oil, a sort of economic WMD, and they are kicking the daylights out of the Iranian economy right now (despite Obama's attempts to save the Iranians) in the oil market. Can't last forever, but it's great to watch.

tim eisele said...

Yes, the actual size of their armed forces are large, but only in the top 24 as far as personnel. Their ranking of "4th" is based on their expenditures - basically they have an unusually high equipment-to-personnel ratio, and it is mostly focused on things like fighter and attack jets that are most useful in actions close to their own borders.

And considering that they have had a not-unrealistic fear of having to fight at various times with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Israel, and potentially India, it's not too surprising that they would want to buy a lot of defensive gear.