US dominates global weapons market, sales tripled last year: report


Fighters from the Free Syrian Army buy AK-47 bullets from a weapons seller in Idlib Province on July 4, 2012. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the UN to use the threat of sanctions to force change in Syria on July 6, 2012, as President Bashar al-Assad was rocked by the defection of one of his most senior generals.



The US was by far the most dominatant supplier in the global arms market in 2011 according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service, and obtained by the New York Times

Sales tripled from 2010, to a record $66.3 billion, the Times reported: "That's more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion. Russia was a distant second with $4.8 billion in deals." It's also more than twice the previous US arms sales record, set in 2009.

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CRS determined that concerns over Iran drove demand for US arms, particularly in Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which purchased F-15 fighters and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, as well as "complex missile defense systems" according to the NYT

War games in the region have been on the rise

Developing nations accounted for most US and global weapons purchases, "in keeping with recent trends," the Times noted.

The highly-respected Congressional Research Service serves as a think tank and policy analysis unit for the US Congress. Its reports are not released to the public, but are available to legislators and their staff. 

The annual report is widely seen as the most comprehensive study on arms sales data available, according to NYT. Its 2011 edition was published Friday.