KEEPING up with its western counterparts, Spain has surpassed itself in selling arms to the Saudi regime in Riyadh, breaking a new record of military trade with the desert kingdom.
In the first quarter of 2015 alone, figures reveal that Spain sold approaching €500 million worth of weaponry to the Middle East nation which has also enjoyed a cosy relationship with the US and UK.
Two Airbus A330-200 MRTT in-flight refuelling jets were among the haul secured by Saudi officials, who are currently engaged in a precarious proxy war with Iran in Yemen as the geo-political foes battle for supremacy.
The statistics indicate that Spain sold a total of €1.727 billion in armaments in the first three months of 2015, a marked increase of 25.3 per cent over the same time period in 2014. It means that Saudi Arabia alone accounted for more than a quarter of all Spanish military exports during that period.
Noticeable sales were also made to Egypt, Venezuela and Iraq as the Spanish government evidently shrugged off criticism from Amnesty International about its growing role in fuelling Middle East conflict.
Spain is ranked as one of the largest arms exporters in the world, with sales figures rocketing in the past decade as Madrid has ratcheted up a ten-fold increase on 2004 sales.
Saudi Arabia overtook India last year as the world’s biggest importer of arms spending more than $6 billion (€5.5 billion)in 2014 alone which accounted for almost ten per cent of global trade.