Fast Market Research recommends "Saudi Arabia Defence & Security Report Q4 2012" from Business Monitor International, now available
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/13/2012 -- BMI's Saudi Arabia Defence and Security Report for Q4 2012 examines the country's strategic position in the Middle East and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future, especially in the context of the ongoing Arab Spring.
In addition, the report examines the trends witnessed in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The report's general conclusion is that Saudi Arabia will continue to invest heavily in defence procurement, giving it military superiority over most of its neighbours in what will remain a volatile region; but that the long-term security outlook is less certain, given domestic political pressures that the essentially authoritarian government is unlikely to address through democratic reforms.
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The death of Crown Prince Nayef in June and his replacement with another member of the royal family's ageing inner circle was a reminder that the country will have no choice but to embrace a new generation of leaders in the not-too-distant future. This could mean an opening for democracy, but possibly also a moment of danger in terms of national stability. However, for the time being the state's formidable security apparatus should be equal to any popular unrest, such as the recurrent protests in the Shi'adominated Eastern Province.
Saudi Arabia's region remains volatile, though BMI also notes that there were positive signs of the government in neighbouring Yemen making progress against Islamist militants in Q2. Relations with Iran are extremely tense, and it may prove difficult for Riyadh to stay out of any conflict between the US and Iran, should that occur, especially if Tehran attempts to foment unrest in Saudi Arabia's Shi'a regions. However, the decision of newly elected Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi to make Riyadh his first foreign destination will have encouraged the Saudis that their close security alliance with Cairo did not cease with the downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Meanwhile, the US's announcement of its long-term military plans for the Middle East should not directly affect Saudi Arabia, which no longer hosts major US bases. However, the country will benefit strategically from the US commitment to station 40,000 troops in the region following its withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, and will continue to buy American arms in significant quantities. According to the World Bank, Saudi Arabia now spends more than any other country on defence as a proportion of GDP - it spent 10.4% of its GDP last year - and according to some forecasts its military expenditure will top U$50bn for the first time this year.
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