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Effect of the massive Saudi military purchases on the region?

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by Eeshaan, Nov 2, 2010.

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  1. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    Hello,

    :cop Before I share my opinion, I must request everyone to keep it civil in this thread, and not turn it into a political hate-fest. :cop

    Saudis looking at Spanish tanks - UPI.com

    Saudi Arabia eyes $60 billion in U.S. arms - UPI.com

    I've been reading these news and started to think, are these massive arms purchases, which include hardware from Europe, aimed solely at Iran ? Is there actually a war with Iran looming on the horizon ? Or is this buildup just to keep Iran's influence in the region in check ?

    If so, then even with the US' control on the software of certain weapon systems ( as explained to me by Abraham Gubler and jaffo411 in another thread) , will Israel's position not become extremely vulnerable ? With such a large ( albeit controlled ) increase in the Arab states' military capability, won't Israel find itself in a tight spot ? What effect will this have on the region's stability ?

    Today's Arab forces are not those that fought the Israelis in 50s-70s. They are much better equipped, better trained and more experienced ( by training and fighting alongside US/British forces ) than they were before.

    Looking forward to some answers...
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  2. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Israel will not be placed in a tight spot as the U.S. will never allow arms sales to any Arab country to threaten Israel irrespective on how lucrative the contract is or how friendly the Arab government is towards the West. Not only does Israel have the most capable and experienced military in the region, its security is also guaranteed by the U.S. In approving the latest arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government is fully aware that Saudi Arabia has no intention whatsover of using it against Israel.

    Granted, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have a very impressive order of battle, on paper. But having an impressive military and having the means and ability to use it in a conflict are 2 very different things. Anyhow, as I stated in another thread, my opinion is that the Arabs countries have no intention of waging war on Israel nor is there any point in doing so... Even Syria which desperately wants back the Golan Heights has no intention of going to war to get it back, prefering to use proxies to apply pressure on the Israelis in Lebonan and its close relationship with Iran as a fallback. Regime survival, economic prosperity and keeping an eye on Iran are the priorities of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

    Though no doubt the training of Arab militaries has improved since the 60's and 70's, unfortunatly without participating in actual combat it will be impossible to gauge how effective they would perform. Then again, with the exception of Syria and Egypt, most Arab countries are awash with cash so allocating funds for regular and realistic training should't be a problem like it is in many non Western countries. This would mean that in theory ,Saudi Arabia and the UAE has enough funds to ensure their pilots fly as many hours as Israeli and Western pilots, but whether their training is as realistic and challenging is unknown.

    I really doubt if the 1st Gulf War provides a good indication on Arab performance as the Arabs armies involved played a mainly supporting role during the conflict with air, artillery and logistics support being provided by the U.S. A major problem gathering informationn on the various Arab militaries is that there is hardly anything in English on the various Arab militaries, apart from articles detailing equipment purchases and modernisation plans in defence publications such as Janes, IDR, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  3. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    Thanks alot for the info, Sturm.

    I believe Israel should keep it's F-35 procurement plans going. They have a target of about 76 F-35s, which should help keep the balance in their favor. At the moment they have purchased ( or given for free ) 20, hopefully the programme reaches it's target without any cuts.

    But then there is the issue of Iran. Won't this military build-up in SA cause an increase in hostilities instead of keeping the situation under control ? I think Iran might step-up nuclear and defense modernization programmes to meet what they would surely consider a threat to their interests/goals in the region.

    Please do correct me if I'm wrong, but this does seem like a force being made ready to invade Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, or a force to guard SA's border incase Iran tries to aggressively enforce it's foreign policy. Signs of a conflict looming on the horizon... :confused:
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  4. EXSSBN2005

    EXSSBN2005 New Member

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    Looming conflict is possiable as was discussed in the Iranian airforce thread,[http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/air-force-aviation/iranian-airforce-10707/] I'm not sure if its likely but this could be seen as the Saudis trying to get enough of an advantage militarily to cause Iran to at least think twice before starting any type of offence in the region. I dont believe Israel would have anything to worry about due to US backing, but since we would be backing both sides RSAF vs IDF would be an epic fight with neither side winning, depending on who the US backed and maybe other previous / secretive alliances would be put into play again neither side would win but they would both put some serious pain onto the other side. More than likely they are worried about Iran and this buy is because they have the money and would like all their military gear to be compatable and fully tested out vice all the newest systems with all the bells and whistles. :lam I would not really be suprised if there were other arms buys out there for the region that are not announced yet or are or are not going through, although other than the suspended/canceled sale of the S-400 series from Russia to Iran I have no other examples, sources, or links in open forums that I know of, its just uninformed speculation on my part.
     
  5. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    The Saudis have always been worried about the advantage in numbers that Iran has over them. Iran and Iraq are the countries with the highest population in the region. Iran getting the backing of Iraq's Shia muslim population may result in a massive increase in regional power/influence for Iran and a serious threat to the Saudis.

    I wonder what impact this sale will have on the S-400 deal ? Will Iran attempt to press the issue with Russia to counter Saudi/US influence in the area ? Or will Russia keep the deal suspended ?
     
  6. NICO

    NICO New Member

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    I wonder if this buy has more to do with war between Iran and USA, nice stock of weapons and parts pre-positioned for USAF and Navy. Does Saudi Arabia really need 600 HARMs and 400 Harpoons? Seems kind of a lot, actually even for US military needs it seems kind of a lot. So yes, this purchase and it's size seem to me a bit strange.

    I am curious about the Leopard 2 purchase from Spain. I am guessing Leopard line in Germany is closed? Does Germany make some money on the deal because they sold the license to Spain, do Germans get some kind of residual? It is quite a big buy in it's own right, no Middle Eastern army will mess with Saudi Arabian army , Leopard 2 is one hell of a tank, nothing Iran has even can really compare.
     
  7. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    Nico, thats exactly what came to my mind when I read the news reports. This seemed like overkill at first, if it's just about Iran. I mean even with all the numbers that Iran can muster, including Iraq's shia population ( if it's possible ), going to war against SA, a key US ally in the region is a major blunder in my opinion. All the new hardware just adds icing to the cake.

    Or, maybe they Saudis and USA knows something about Iranian military & nuclear capability that we don't.

    I have been wondering for quite some time about the statement that President Ahmedinajad made saying that everyone will "regret" ever attacking Iran (including powers like USA, Israel, UK etc. ), even BEFORE their nuclear programme is complete and they have nuclear weapons ready. How will they do it ? What is the ace up their sleeve that Iran will unleash against any attackers that demands such a vast military build-up ? :confused:

    How do you pull something like that off without nuclear weapons :confused:
     
  8. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Political leaders don't always have real perceptions of their own military power.
     
  9. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    That is true.

    Saudi Arabia recently held a military excercise where they practiced giving an opening to Israeli fighter jets and bombers to attack targets in Iran. There is a possibility that Saudi Arabia might get drawn into a war with Iran if Israel attacks Iran or is attacked by Iran, and the same goes for Israel if SA is attacked by Iran.

    In that case it still is overkill. I have no idea how Iran's new anti-air missle system compares to the Russian S-400 or it's western counterparts, or wether Iran's long range missles are as capable and advanced as Iran's president says, but in my opinion numbers on "land" is all that he has. He dosen't even have a navy capable of going toe-to-toe with the US naval presence in the Persian Gulf, only his missles and that secret ace up his sleeve. Please educate me if I'm wrong.

    Is Iran modernizing it's military at such a rate that this vast military build up is required to counter it's influence ?

    Also, if the Leos that SA is purchasing are the 2E models, in addition to the Apaches, I can imagine Iranian ( and even Israeli ! ) tank crews losing some sleep over it...
     
  10. Sampanviking

    Sampanviking Banned Member

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    The US appears happy at the moment to pretty well sell anything to anyone that wants to buy and has the cash to do so (slight exaggeration perhaps, but apparently getting slighter by the day). Even China has been invited to buy some hardware.

    I understand that from export sales worth about $50 Billion last year, export sales on the table for this year are have rocketed to about $300 Billion.

    To me the whole thing has more to do with the elite of the US knowing just how much trouble their country is really in and making sure that they at least will be financially secure, rather than any overriding strategic policy . If this and other world wide purchases happen to cause destabilisation and conflict, I am sure that the US will be happy to offer deals to other affected neighbours as well.
     
  11. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    I understand what you're saying, Sampanviking. Even India is being offered US military hardware. These sales have something to do with the USA's economic woes.

    Although this is a "selling spree" to help with it's financial issues, this isn't just any old soviet-era hardware. This is state-of-the art equipment.

    And if you look at SA's purchases, they're not just from USA. Typhoons, which are more advanced than anything Israel currently has, have been purchased from UK. The Leopard 2Es are right up there with M1A2/Challenger 2/Merkava MkIV, as the top-of-the range tanks, more than a match for Iran's Zulfiqar tanks.
     
  12. AegisFC

    AegisFC Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Got a legit source to back that statement up?
     
  13. Eeshaan

    Eeshaan New Member

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    Russia bans S-300 sale to Iran « The Gulf blog

    Well, Iran is not going to get S-300 or 400 systems anytime soon, unless the relations between Russia & USA deteriorate to the point where Russia considers selling them to Iran only to counter US influence. Iran's indegenous Anti-air missle system's capabilities are unknown. So wether Iran's Anti-air can pose a serious threat to all that state-of-the-art hardware is questionable.

    NICO's point comes to mind, unless there's something we don't know about Iran that USA & SA's high rankers know, all that hardware is a bit overkill, and unless a major offensive by Iran or against Iran is on the horizon, then like stated in a news article, it's obama's means of forcing Israel to agree to stopping the settlement plans and maintan a balance of power in the region...
     
  14. Sampanviking

    Sampanviking Banned Member

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  15. Waylander

    Waylander Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    As for Leopards being purchased by SA, I really doubt it.

    Such a deal would need approval by the German government. And as SA is located in a crisis region such an approval would be controversial within Germany.
    Why should our gov go through this when it is Santa Barbara/Spain which gains the most of such a deal.

    If on the other hand KMW would get the contract (maybe with a mix of german build Leos and kits for final assembly shipped to SA) such a deal is much more possible. KMW defenitely hasn't lost the production capabilities for new Leos and is still offering it to interested customers. Strv122s as well as the first batches of the Leopards IIE and HEL were build by KMW.
     
  16. Humming Drone

    Humming Drone New Member

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    Indeed. It's been announced that Saudis are interested in the purchase, but there is no deal at the moment - nothing came out from the November 2 meeting. It's been said that "other countries" are interested in the Saudis contract. So there is a potential for this story developing over the following months.
     
  17. AegisFC

    AegisFC Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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  18. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    I'm just hoping that war does not break out with Iran as IMO it will make the Middle East a much more dangerous place and it's effects will eventually spread elsewhere.
    Not trying to get off topic here but at a time when major efforts are being made to improve relations between the West and the Muslim world, and when Western troops are already in Iraq and Afghanistan, surely war on Iran would have negative effects?

    No surprises here as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have always been at odds and have felt threatened by Iran. Though the Arabs still have unresolved issues with Israel, namely the return of land capture in 67, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States see Iran as a threat rather than Israel. During the 80's, the biggest fear was that the mullahs in Tehran would spread their revolution to the Sunni dominated Arab countries. It was for this reason, that Saudi, Jordan, Egypt, etc,.. joined the West in providing support to Saddam during the Iran/Iraq war [never mind that it was Iraq that started the war].
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  19. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting numbers. Can you source those?
     
  20. Sampanviking

    Sampanviking Banned Member

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    C130-J's I believe and no nothing that remarkable of themselves, hence why I was not making that big a deal over it, especially as there is no real indication that the PRC is all that interested. High Tech or Low Tech is pretty irrelevant as its still business and still good money.
    What is far more remarkable is that the offer was made at all, and that as such, it is indicative of the US's considerably less discriminatory policy regarding sales than has been usual until very recently.

    Very true, but lets be honest that the US has very little choice, as for anything other than the very best there is stiff opposition from other countries offering comparable performance at much lower cost.
     
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