A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Graphic Proof of Iranian Hegemony: They're Spending a Sixth as Much as the Saudis on Arms with Less than Three Times the Saudi Population!

OK, for those of you who question the idea that Iran is becoming a dangerous regional hegemon, let's run some numbers.Surely you won't doubt that numbers from the prestigious international Institute of Strategic Studies are worthy of attention.

Eek! Iran, with a population of 78 million, is rapidly overtaking Saudi Arabia (population 30 million): it's almost a sixth the size of the Saudi defense outlay! And the other regional hegemon, Yemen, has surpassed Bahrain!


To be fair, I know the Gulf is a dangerous neighborhood and lower population may mean greater vulnerability. But this graph does suggest the "Iran as new regional hegemon" meme might need some perspective.


Anonymous said...

Alas, you forget the critical difference between Saudi and Iran: the Iranians know how to use the weapons and have proved skilled at doing so.

A. Khashoggi said...

Ah, but when you subtract the middlemen commissions paid on the Saudi deals, the Iranians actually spend more on weapons.