Q75.

How common is it for defence acquisition decisions to be based on political influence by selling nations?

75a. Prevalence: selling nations

Score

SCORE: NS/100

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75b. Justification

Score

SCORE: NS/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

75c. Prevalence: domestic pressures

Score

SCORE: NS/100

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There are some indications that political influence from sellers nations have influenced acquisition decisions, see the country’s last assessment (1). Russia has been the main supplier of arms for the last decade, supplying 84.3% of arms to Algeria (2). In 2006, Russia cancelled Algeria’s debt of $4.7 billion from the Soviet-era in return for Algeria’s commitment to buy weapons worth $7.5 billion. According to one report, Russia still hopes to strengthen its position in Algeria by selling arms and signing military cooperation agreements. However, it has not achieved its goal of establishing a naval base (3). Algeria has sought to diversify its arms purchases in recent years and intends to spend $30 billion on defence systems and weaponry from the United States and Europe in the upcoming years. Due to the arms purchases from Russia, the Algerian government has to fear sanctions from the US after President Trump signed a law imposing sanctions on every country buying military equipment from Russia (4).

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The Algerian military occasionally justifies acquisitions by referring to the general need of the military. For example, in an article about the acquisition of a corvette in 2016, it pointed out that it would strengthen the naval forces as part of the fleet modernization and would contribute to the optimization of defence potential (1). Another article stated that the ANP’s modernization relied essentially on the rational exploitation of available capacities, including appropriate material resources, modern weapons and human resources (2).

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No evidence could be found that there is domestic pressure on the military concerning military purchases. As Yazbeck notes, the military does not allow any civilian interference in military affairs (1). Reports on joint military-parliamentary events, such as on the military industry, also did not mention any pressure from legislators towards the military (2), (3).

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Recent high-value purchases in the defence and security sector are of diverse origins, including among others Italian, Chinese and Russian companies and international corporations like Airbus. Existing credit lines, bilateral accords or historic ties appear to be important. In the case of the $1 billion purchase of refurbished Sukhoi fighters from Russia, no justification was made public for the choice of the supplier; yet, both availability or lower-cost second-hand jets and the historic influence of Russia in Angola’s defence sector may have played a role. Previous similar arms deals with Russia during the civil war reportedly involved a high level of corruption (1), (2).

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Presidential contract approvals are published in the official gazette and are occasionally, no matter how vaguely, justified by military or security needs. However, the selection of a supplier is usually not justified publicly. In the case of the $1 billion purchase of refurbished Sukhoi fighters from Russia, no justification was made public for the choice of the supplier; yet, both availability or lower-cost second-hand jets and the historic influence of Russia in Angola’s defence sector may have played a role. Previous similar arms deals with Russia during the civil war reportedly involved a high level of corruption (1), (2).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The lack of transparency over the decision-making process for defence purchases makes it difficult to assess the role of domestic political pressures, though it also suggests that expectations of kickbacks may be an incentive for some senior officials involved.

Recent media reports allege that after the purchase of six helicopters from Augusta Westland SA in 2014, eventually cheaper models were delivered rather than the helicopters stipulated in the contract, raising suspicions that the then chief of the President’s Security Bureau exerted his influence to misappropriate the price difference between the helicopters.

Defence Web reports, that “Angolan military expenditure will be driven by troop expansion, as well as a revision in troop wage structure, in a bid to improve living standards along with military hardware modernization and border security plans” (1).

Gensat states, “according to the document signed by Angolan leader Joao Lourenco, the deal is necessary for ‘ensuring the work and functioning of the air defence system of big cities and the country’s sensitive economic facilities’.Angola’s army is one of the largest Africa; it has more than 100,000 soldiers. In the 2019 budget, the government will allocate €1.65 bn for the defence sector, which amounts to 5.16% of total public expenses estimated” (2).

GlobalSecurity.org reports, “Angola has a large, healthy, and relatively capable military, one that could play a much larger role in fostering peace on this troubled continent. The Armed Forces of Angola (FAA) is responsible for external security but also has domestic security responsibilities, including border security, the expulsion of irregular immigrants, and small-scale actions against the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) separatists in Cabinda. The National Police, controlled by the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for internal security and law enforcement. The Internal Intelligence Service reports to the presidency and investigates sensitive state security matters” (3).

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Given the current security context of Burkina Faso, it is believed that defence acquisition decisions are primarily based on national defence and security concerns, though the political influence of selling nations remains, in some circumstances, key driving factors of these decisions. For example, exposing on the recent Law of Programming the Burkina Faso legislature passed to implement the five-year Strategic Plan of Reform (PSR) of armed forces. Diallo (2017), indicates that the “adoption of this law should allow the country to provide the National Armed Forces with appropriate means, and to guarantee the financing of the needs of the Army” (1).

However, it must be pointed out that, the defence acquisition decisions are also politically driven, notably by selling nations. For example, made up of five countries, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, the G5 Sahel was created in 2014, in collaboration with defence items selling nation (France, Germany, United States), to address terrorism and violent extremism related issues in the region. According to rfiAfrique (2018), “this force of 5000 men and women is still not operational” (2). Yet, some of the defence items selling nations have offered to assist the organization, including France, which provided Burkina Faso’s armed forces, Mali and Niger with logistics, namely 15 vehicles and troop transport trucks (2), It turns out that these vehicles were not adapted for the kind of battle the troops are involved in. In such a condition, chances are great that members G5 Sahel member States got influenced by defence items selling nations, which supported the creation of the organization. Some regional military capacity building programs exist, such as FLINTLOK initiated by the United States aiming at building the capacity of the military and to fight against terrorism in the participating countries of theTranssaharian Region, including Burkina Faso (3). Taking part in such an initiative can drive defence acquisition decisions, as participating in these training initiatives requires military items. Additionally, although it achieved independence from France since 1960, many are the Burkinabe who believe that colonial power still influences Burkina Faso’s decisions in key areas, including defence (4). Moreover, France is a major donor of Burkina Faso. Making some decisions, including the acquisition of defence items without its endorsement, could engender retaliation.

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According to Diallo (2017), the defence minister said that “money granted through the Law of Military Programming will enable the Armed Forces to purchase performing equipment for those in the field (1). We want a republican, professional, disciplined, and operational Army to counter the terrorist threat we are experiencing. And, this law will enhance the republican status of the Armed Forces” (2). Additionally, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) provides military expenditure with details (pensions, spending only excluding capital, spending on paramilitary forces etc.) on items to purchase for countries around the world, including Burkina Faso. Therefore, the government often justifies purchases by referring to military needs.

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Some defence acquisitions likely result from domestic political pressures. With the country being the target of continued terrorist threats, people from the political arena and civil society have asked for more protection and security related services. In response to these requests, the government of Burkina Faso initiated a bill of law, called the Law of Military Programming, to allocate funds to the military for five years, to purchase defence and security items, and to enhance the overall capacity of the armed forces (1). At the interview session with Interviewee 2, a member of the Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee said that they have passed a law to allocate 725 billion CFA francs to the armed forces to exclusively address security threats, and ensure the defence of the territory (2). The Law of Military Programming was enacted amid political pressure from all political boards within the National Assembly, which unanimously authorized the government to spend a large amount on the defence needs the defence Minister enumerated before the adoption of the law (2).

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In February 2019, Reuters (Paris) reported,
“France said on Thursday its defence cooperation with Cameroon was continuing a day after the United States said it was halting some military assistance to the West African country over allegations of human rights violations by its security forces.
‘France is bound by a defence partnership agreement that it conducts according to the international standards… In accordance with international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, this cooperation is also intended to help Cameroon’s defence and security forces combat terrorism, especially against Boko Haram in the north of the country, while protecting the people. This cooperation continues.’
Cameroon has cooperated closely with the Western states in the fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram in West and central Africa” [1]. France has had a historical military relationship with Cameroon dating back as far as 1961. The French government plays key roles as it has numerous government advisers on military issues at the Ministry of Defence and the Presidency, which suggests a high possibility of French influence over military procurement [2].

The same Reuters article states, “A State Department official on Wednesday said the United States’ decision to terminate some military programs and halt delivery of some equipment was to push Cameroon to show greater transparency in investigating credible allegations of gross violations of human rights security forces… [but] France, which has significant business interests in its former colony and relies on it to fight against Islamist militants, has been careful not to overly criticise the government’s handling of the crisis” [1]. This indicates the French government’s political and business motives and suggests the likelihood of Cameroonian defence decisions being driven by the political influence of France.

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The evidence gathered shows some of the equipment, training and assistance the Cameroon military has acquired from France, Russia, the United States, Spain and China in the fight against Boko Haram [1] [2] [3] [4]. But there is no evidence to show the government cites clear and justifiable military need for purchases made, or why they were sourced from a particular supplier.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) (2016), “some of the equipment Cameroon’s armed forces have acquired in the last five years include five Type-07 armoured personnel carriers, six Type-07P/VN-1 infantry fighting vehicles, 12 WMA-301 Assault armoured fire support vehicles, four Z-9 helicopters and two P-108 patrol craft from China, a second-hand OPV-54 patrol boat from France, two Mi-17 helicopters from Russia, two Aresa-3200 patrol craft and a single CN235 transport aircraft from Spain, and two Bell 412 helicopters from the United States. The United States is sending military supplies and troops to the central African country to aid the fight. And in December it donated 18 Toyota pickup trucks, a truck, a front-end loader and other equipment to Cameroon’s military… In October Cameroon received six armoured personnel carriers from the United States. At least 300 US soldiers arrived in Cameroon in October to provide intelligence and training support to Cameroonian forces fighting Boko Haram” [1].

According to DefenceWeb (7th Feb 2017), “Cameroon has strengthened its navy in recent times with additional vessels. Over the last five years this includes two P-108 patrol craft delivered from China’s Poly Technologies in 2014, a second-hand OPV-54 patrol craft from France in 2014, a 23-metre Aresa 2300 landing craft and two 24-metre Aresa 2400 CPV Defender patrol boats in 2013” [2].

According to DefenceWeb (Nov 2017), IEDs are a favourite weapon among terrorist organizations. Cameroon’s armed forces regularly deploy to northern Cameroon — an area where the violent extremist organization Boko Haram operates. According to the United Nations, attacks by Boko Haram have displaced up to two million people in the countries of Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger, and have claimed the lives of up to 15,000 people since 2009. “Training, held Oct. 23 – Nov. 17, was designed to help Cameroonian troops learn more about IEDs and how to dispose of them safely” [3].

According to DefenceWeb (Jan 2016), “Cameroon’s military is apparently receiving a number of Ratel infantry fighting vehicles, which have been deployed with its Rapid Intervention Battalion. This is according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, which quotes a Cameroonian military source saying that the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) is now operating Ratel 20s. Deliveries began in December 2015, according to the source, and the BIR now has 12 with its Light Intervention Units deployed to the Far North province, where the force is leading operations against Boko Haram militants [1].

According to AfricanNews.com (Nov 2016), “France has made a donation of military hardware to the Cameroonian Armed Forces as part of efforts aimed at combating the Boko Haram insurgent group” [4].

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According to DefenceWeb (2017), “Cameroon’s armed forces regularly deploy to northern Cameroon — an area where the violent extremist organization Boko Haram operates. According to the United Nations, attacks by Boko Haram have displaced up to two million people in the countries of Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, and Niger, and have claimed the lives of up to 15,000 people since 2009” [1]. This is evidence that the Cameroon government felt some domestic pressure to defend and protect its citizens in the North region where the Boko Haram operates.

Also, faced with the escalating Anglophone crises that resulted in the killing of soldiers in the two Anglophone regions by the Anglophone separatist forces, the Cameroon Concord reported that, returning from an AU-EU summit prematurely, “an angry Biya said openly that Cameroon is at war, under attack by ‘terrorists masking as secessionists’ in the NW & SW regions and that all security measures will be taken to ensure peace reigns” [2]; ‘the secessionist crisis in Cameroon’s western region is deepening, with the government promising to crack down hard after Anglophone militants shot dead four soldiers and two policemen last week” [3]. Again, this suggests domestic pressure necessitating the decision to take adequate military steps to confront the crisis.

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Political and military partnerships with several countries mean it is not uncommon for the results of procurement to be made due to political influence. This is particularly true of Côte d’Ivoire’s close ties with France. Although strict confidentiality governs defence procurement, some information is published or leaked by foreign sources providing ex post facto details about major procurement deals such as the acquisition of fighter jets, helicopters and patrol boats, as well as joint training and technical assistance programs.

Côte d’Ivoire buys military equipment from France, a key political and defence partner. France has 900 soldiers stationed in Côte d’Ivoire (Forces française de Côte d’Ivoire, FFCI), as well as an advanced operational base that works as a logistical platform. The 43rd Marine Infantry Battalion is an elite force stationed at Port-Bouët and works together with the Ivorian Combat Armed Forces Group (groupement tactique interarmes de Côte d’Ivoire, GTIA-CI). The military partnership between both countries was strengthened in June 2017 to fight jihadist terrorism in West Africa, including military training and information exchange. As of 2018, France had 11 high-level military advisors working together with the MoD (1), (2), (4). France sold EUR 16.9 billion worth of armament globally in 2015, including its sales to Côte d’Ivoire. Reasons for its political influence include the signature of a strategic partnership between both countries and the fact that French armament is considered to be “combat proven” (good quality). As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France also enjoys a high degree of legitimacy as a seller nation. According to Colonel Lafargue, the Defense Attaché at the French Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, part of his mandate is to inform the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) in France on the potential needs of Côte d’Ivoire and to welcome French defense firms and connect them with the right people in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as to encourage Ivorian officials to participate in major French arms fairs (3), (4). In Côte d’Ivoire, the sale of military equipment by French firms is usually made within the context of security or technical assistance programs, thus adding another layer of legitimacy to the transaction. Financial facilities also help carry out the transactions. In June 2017, Capital, a publication, reported that the partnership would be boosted following the increase in jihadist terrorism in West Africa. The announcement was made after a state visit to Paris by President Alassane Ouattara (5). Some acquisitions are granted as a result of political influence by seller nations such as France, but that this is not “extremely common”.

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The government has at times justified its purchases of military equipment by referring to specific military needs, even if such information was not subject to public disclosure. However, the government does not justify each defence acquisition, but may instead provide a general concept for the expenditure such as the modernization of the armed forces or the need to increase its capacity to fight terrorists. If this information is reported by Ivorian media, it is usually based on the provisions in the Military Planning Act 2016-2020 (Loi de Programmation Militaire, LPM). According to an excerpt from Laurent Touchard’s book on African Armed Forces (Forces armées africaines 2016-2017), the government of Côte d’Ivoire has justified the acquisition of arms and the buildout of military infrastructure in 2016-2020 as part of an effort to modernize and professionalize the armed forces. This effort increased the defence budget by USD 846 million in 2016 compared to 2015. The LPM has budgeted a total of US 3.5 billion in defence expenditure through 2020, using the same concept of modernization of the armed forces as an underlying justification. Other defence acquisition decisions have been triggered by terrorism, such as the attack at Grand Bassam in 2016 (1). A defence expert who was interviewed said:

“A month after the attack on Grand-Bassam, President Alassane Ouattara announced the disbursement of 137.8 million dollars. The purchase of equipment was justified as part of a counterterrorism effort and included money for electronic sensors, ballistic protections and vehicles” (1).

A dispatch by the Cotonou (Benin) station of France’s intelligence service (DGSE) dating to March 22, 2015 leaked information on how President Alassane OUATTARA had made an extrabudgetary and undercover acquisition of USD 120 million worth of military equipment through Benin’s President Yayi Boni, an operation that took place from June 2014 to January 2015. This expenditure was made while Côte d’Ivoire was still subject to a UN Security Council arms embargo. The reason provided by President Ouattara appeared to be an internal and external threat by ex-combatants. “President Ouattara, feeling a real need to equip his army in the face of a double internal and external threat, opened a channel in January 2015 with his Beninois counterpart to obtain from him a paid support for an extrabudgetary acquisition of military equipment (weapons of war and military equipment subject to UN embargo)” (2). Whenever information is leaked into the public domain, the government does justify defence acquisitions by citing military needs.

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Recent evidence suggests that defence acquisitions are driven more by seller nations such as France, based on its strategic partnership with Côte d’Ivoire, than by a domestic political agenda. Though it is difficult to assess because the government does not justify each defence acquisition. Situations such as the terrorist attack at Grand Bassam in March 2016 and the military expenditure it triggered illustrates that in a growing climate of insecurity the government will respond to the needs of national security rather than to domestic politics, as shown in 75B.

According to an interview with the Defence Attaché at the French Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, Colonel Lafargue, the priorities of the Ivorian defence acquisitions are currently driven by the need to modernize the armed forces one step at a time. The government cannot afford to carry out a wholesale upgrade, so it is proceeding piecemeal with reforms and upgrades (1). According to Thomas Hofnung, writing for Le Monde in October 2017, the political tension between President Alassane Ouattara and NA President Guillaume Soro has been building up and could be headed toward a confrontation ahead of the 2020 election. Both are longstanding political allies, and Soro is a former rebel leader that was instrumental in dislodging former President Laurent Gbagbo from power during the post-election crisis of 2011-2012. Soro also controls many of the former rebel leaders (COMZONES) that have periodically threatened Côte d’Ivoire’s political stability. Furthermore, Soro has been accused of having stockpiles of arms in Bouaké and Korhogo. This rivalry is the type of domestic political pressure that could, in theory, inform defence acquisitions, but that is less important than the pressure applied from seller nations (2). In “some” instances, a defence acquisition can be the result of domestic pressure, but evidence in 2016-2018 suggests this is uncommon.

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Military acquisitions are in part determined by the political influence of the selling nations as well as the desire of the executive to buy from them in return for recognition and legitimacy. The selling nations are primarily the USA, Germany, France and more recently Russia. Apparently, the defence procurement cycle process is determined by two factors. One factor is based on needs and capabilities, and the other by political considerations. There is some evidence of a formalization of the needs and capabilities factor, whereas politically-driven procurement cycles are more improvised (1). The purchase of the Rafale military aircraft and Mistral’s from France is a case in point, where it is widely believed that they will be of limited use to combat insurgents on the ground in North Sinai. France might have taken advantage of Egypt’s need to diversify its armament sources away from an exclusive reliance on US arms, as well as the new regime’s need to make international friends (2), (3), (4).

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According to our sources, there is no justification in the meaning of extensive debate on why the acquisition happened, but messages are being sent after and prior the acquisition to justify such process, however, these justifications are mainly politically-driven (1), (2), (3). The government tries to diffuse anger and critique by sending messages of justifications through media outlets. The main justification usually given by government or pro-government sources is the need to diversify the sources of armament and strengthen military capabilities in the face of increasing threats. For example, a columnist in the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper wrote in late 2014 that “the US first called off the Bright Star joint military exercises and then halted the delivery of arms purchases to Egypt and suspended maintenance and training. Egypt responded by turning to Russia, China, Germany and France.” He then went on to explain: “President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s visits abroad have been closely linked with the push to diversify arms supplies. He visited Russia last year while still minister of defence. More recently he travelled to both Rome and Paris. A visit to China is planned before the end of this year and the issue of armaments will figure high on the agenda” (4).

Additionally, the former deputy of the Israeli National Security Council Shaul Shay wrote in 2015 that “Egypt has learned its lessons and decided to reduce the over-reliance on one provider (U.S) and diversifying the sources of Egypt’s armaments became a strategic priority. Egypt was also keen to ensure its armaments policy responded to international political developments, including the growing influence of China and Russia” (5).

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According to our sources, there is no domestic political pressure when it comes to military spending and purchases. Indeed, there are no political parties or figures that can have that extended pressure to push for acquisition or defence decision. The decision is monopolized by the HoS and the military themselves (1), (2), (3), (4). The political leadership, including the president, in Egypt, have been crucial in the process of making defence acquisition decisions. It was clear to many commentators and observers that the decision to go for French or Russian arms was made by politicians for political purposes. President Sisi himself closely managed and followed the purchase of arms from France and Russia in 2014 as part of his plan to diversify the sources of armament (5), (6), (7), (8).

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Given the huge amount of money involved in defence acquisition, selling nations wield tremendous political influence in determining the final agreement package, for instance as in Ghana’s acquisitions from China (1), (2), (3).

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When governments make public pronouncements on defence expenditures, they have always stated that it is intended to strengthen the armed forces to help it provide better services in Ghana and peace support operations (1), (2).

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Some acquisitions are granted as a result of domestic political pressures, but this is not extremely common. For example, in early 2018, there were a series of armed robberies and the military was called up to support the police. As a result of pressure on the government, some funds were allocated for the purchase of logistics such as new vehicles; but the purchase of hardware like arms and ammunitions was not mentioned although it was purchased (1), (2).

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Almost all deals are politically influenced. Jordan is not a major buyer of weapons, however, there are several reasons to believe that selling nations have a political influence on defence decisions. Jordan is dependent on foreign aid, funding, and loans, provided by selling nations such as the UK and the US. The UK and the US political decisions greatly influence Jordan’s decisions, as Jordan is considered a great ally [1,2,3]. In fact, evidence suggests that in 2018 the U.S. provided military assistance to Jordan, in the form of developing a five-year procurement plan for the Jordanian Armed Forces [4]. This demonstrates that the majority of procurement decisions are set alongside the selling nation. In addition to that, Jordan has facilitated the passing of weapons to Syrian rebels through its borders [5], therefore compromising its borders and its relationship to the Syrian regime. Specifically in relation to defence procurement, selling nations have participated in the decision making around procurement for the coming five years.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Almost all deals are politically influenced. Jordan is not a major buyer of weapons, however, there are several reasons to believe that selling nations have a political influence on defence decisions. Jordan is dependent on foreign aid, funding, and loans, provided by selling nations such as the UK and the US. The UK and the US political decisions greatly influence Jordan’s decision+N64+O65ed the passing of weapons to Syrian rebels through its borders [5], therefore compromising its borders and its relationship to the Syrian regime. Specifically in relation to defence procurement, selling nations have participated in the decision making around procurement for the coming five years.

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Defence decisions are rarely made public in Jordan, and there is no information around how internal defence decisions are made.

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Virtually all defence decisions are driven by political influence and that is why Kuwait almost solely buys US arms since the US spearheaded efforts to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqis in the 1990s, analysts and activists said (1, 2, 3 and 4).

In 2017, 88 percent of Kuwait’s defence purchases were from the US and it requested 429 million USD in equipment and security systems from the US in 2018, according to the Security Assistance Monitor, which tracks the US arms deals (5). Kuwait’s orders in 2017 cost 1.2 billion USD and 12.4 in 2016, making it one of the top 20 importers of US arms in both years (6).

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The Government does not justify military purchases by referring to its military needs (1, 2, 3).

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Domestic politics do not influence these decisions mostly because local politicians do not question these decisions and the few who want Kuwait to diversify its sources of weapons are too weak to influence these decisions, which are seen as matters for the Emir and his close circle of loyalists to decide, a member of the Royal family said (1).

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The LAF acquires weapons in the form of donations from foreign countries (1). Thus, foreign influence is inherent as the LAF is aid-dependent to support its development due to lack of resources (2). For instance, almost 80% of the LAF’s military equipment comes from the US (3). While external influence by donors is prevalent, the LAF has shown a willingness to push back on donor suggestions and preferences when they veer away from the requirements outlined in the CDPs (2013-2017 and 2018-2022 CDPs) (4). For example, during the $3 billion Saudi grant’s planning phase to support LAF acquisition of French combat systems, French authorities tried to persuade senior LAF officers to consider systems such as Adroit Class oceanographic vessels, Leclerc main battle tanks, etc., which the LAF did not want or need (4). However, the LAF pushed back against these suggestions to ensure they acquired defence articles are in line with the LAF’s future order of battle and preserve the set of requirements in the CDP (4).

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The LAF’s CDP justified the requirements for developing its capabilities and was presented in front of the international support group for Lebanon at the Rome conferences (1). However, the LAF developed the CDP with limited political buy-in (1). Furthermore, two sources indicated that it was only presented to them once in the Defence, Interior, and Municipalities Parliamentary Committee (2), (3).

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No incidents were found of domestic political pressures resulting in defence acquisitions (1). Domestic political pressures do not result in c acquisition because the government cannot afford to acquire military weapons due to a lack of resources (2). However, there is criticism about the LAF’s dependence on aid and the prevalence of US aid to Lebanon (3).

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France has traditionally been Mali’s foremost security and military partner. For decades it has been active in providing materials and support to the Malian army. The French security guarantee to African governments typically went hand-in-hand with a requirement that French firms were favoured for state contracts. Also, according to the Article 8 of the colonial pact, France has the exclusive right to train former colonies’ soldiers, and supply their militaries. Although this dynamic has weakened over the years, France remains Mali’s most important defence partner, as evidenced by the French-led military intervention in northern Mali in 2013.
Since then, France has continued to provide support and supply equipment. In March 2015, in response to a terrorist attack in Bamako, the French Embassy helped reinforce Mali’s local security operations.¹ In September 2014, Mali’s MDAC acquired military equipment from France, including a command vehicle for President IBK.³ This acquisition was part of an agreement signed in November 2013 covering the period from December 2013 to December 2016 to acquire, among other things, military uniforms and military command vehicles.³
In July 2014, France and Mali signed a new treaty for military cooperation (2,11). But the agreement does not contain any reference to arms sales or purchases.¹¹
In recent years, it is clear that the Malian government has diversified its use of military suppliers. Under IBK’s government, the MDAC has bought one C295W aeroplane and one new Super Puma helicopter from European conglomerate Airbus, in which France retains an 11% stake.¹⁰ ¹²
But the MDAC has also purchased:
– one used Super Puma helicopter from Ireland⁹
– attack helicopters from Russia, which were bought after 8 million Malians reportedly signed a petition calling on the Russia government to help Mali by supplying military equipment⁵
– six A-29 Super Tocano combat planes from Brazilian company Embraer Defense & Security⁹
– a Boeing 737 from the US to serve as the presidential jet.¹³ Boeing is Airbus’s biggest competitor, indicating that the French influence in Mali does not ensure that all major purchases go to France. Indeed, this list above suggests that the Malian government has been able to shop around freely despite France’s considerable influence.

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During the past five years, Mali has largely purchased equipment in accordance with the needs outlined in the government’s programme of military reform, with one notable glaring exception.
The LOPM, which passed into law in February 2015, can be considered as an evaluation of needs given that the document specified that it intended to recruit an additional 10,000 solider between 2015 and 2019 to plug the major gaps in the armed forces.⁶ The LOPM provides for USD2.3 billion of investment for the armed forces, and included plans to purchase helicopters, aeroplanes and uniforms.⁶ Since then the Malian government has gone on to buy:
– two used Super Puma S 332 L helicopters (one from Airbus, one from a subsidiary of Airbus in Ireland)⁹
– two attack helicopters from Russia, which were bought after 8 million Malians reportedly signed a petition calling on the Russia government to help Mali by supplying military equipment⁵
– six A-29 Super Tocano combat planes from Brazilian company Embraer Defense & Security⁹
– one C295W aeroplane from Airbus¹⁰ ¹²
– military uniforms (for the new recruits) and military command vehicles.³
However, the government provided no justification for the off-budget purchase of a new presidential jet for USD 40 million from the US in March 2014.¹³

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

During the past five years, Mali has largely purchased equipment in accordance with the needs outlined in the government’s programme of military reform, with one notable glaring exception.
Mali’s military purchases during the past five years have almost exclusively been made to respond to expanding threat of jihadist attacks in the country. Following the collapse of the Malian army in 2012 in the face of an armed Tuareg rebellion, which was supported by certain jihadist groups, there was clear need for the government to rebuild the armed forces when IBK was elected in 2013.
The LOPM, which was passed into law in February 2015, sets out what the government will do to increase the military’s capacity to fight jihadist groups in the north and centre of the country.
One of the key elements identified was the need to recruit more troops to the depleted FAMa. The document specified that it intended to recruit an additional 10,000 soldiers between 2015 and 2019 to plug the major gaps in the armed forces.⁶ The LOPM provides for USD2.3 billion of investment for the armed forces, and included plans to purchase helicopters, aeroplanes and uniforms.⁶ The need for aircraft was paramount to combat jihadist groups that typically operate in the vast, remote, largely unpopulated northern desert areas.
Since then the Malian government has gone on to buy:
– two used Super Puma S 332 L helicopters (one from Airbus, one from a subsidiary of Airbus in Ireland)⁹
– two attack helicopters from Russia, which were bought after 8 million Malians reportedly signed a petition calling on the Russia government to help Mali by supplying military equipment⁵
– six A-29 Super Tocano combat planes from Brazilian company Embraer Defense & Security⁹
– one C295W aeroplane from Airbus¹⁰ ¹²
– military uniforms (for the new recruits) and military command vehicles.³

This sub-indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Although previous evidence suggested that it was very common for defence decisions to be driven by political influence from seller nations, especially France, it seems that this is no longer the case.

The history of arms contracts between Morocco and France suggested indeed that defence decisions were influenced by the personal relationship between President Jacques Chirac (a close personal friend of King Mohammed VI and former king Hassan II). However, Jacques Chirac ceased to be President in 2007. The 3 Presidents who have come after him so far (Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron) have been very keen to maintain close links with Morocco. Emmanuel Macron even went to Morocco for his first visit abroad after his election in 2017. However, not only have some contracts signed between the two countries (such as the purchase of Rafale military planes) when Jacques Chirac was president not been honoured by Morocco, but also no major arms deals have been signed with France since.

It seems however that other countries, especially the United States, are using their political influence to sell weapons to Morocco (1)(2)(3). In a leaked document, former American ambassador Thomas Riley’s cable to the United States State Department confirmed that development aid to Morocco is often conditional to the purchase by the former of military equipment from the United States or France. Interviewees stated that this was still the case concerning American influence (4)(5).

As explained in previous indicators, the King is the final decision-maker for defence acquisitions and is not accountable for these decisions. He is therefore unlikely to justify military procurement by referring to military need, and may not justify defence and security expenditure at all.

This sub-indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Although previous evidence suggested that it was very common for defence decisions to be driven by political influence from seller nations, especially France, it seems that this is no longer the case.

The history of arms contracts between Morocco and France suggested indeed that defence decisions were influenced by the personal relationship between President Jacques Chirac (a close personal friend of King Mohammed VI and former king Hassan II). However, Jacques Chirac ceased to be President in 2007. The 3 Presidents who have come after him so far (Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron) have been very keen to maintain close links with Morocco. Emmanuel Macron even went to Morocco for his first visit abroad after his election in 2017. However, not only have some contracts signed between the two countries (such as the purchase of Rafale military planes) when Jacques Chirac was president not been honoured by Morocco, but also no major arms deals have been signed with France since.

It seems however that other countries, especially the United States, are using their political influence to sell weapons to Morocco (1)(2)(3). In a leaked document, former American ambassador Thomas Riley’s cable to the United States State Department confirmed that development aid to Morocco is often conditional to the purchase by the former of military equipment from the United States or France. Interviewees stated that this was still the case concerning American influence (4)(5).

As explained in previous indicators, the King is the final decision-maker for defence acquisitions and is not accountable for these decisions. He is therefore unlikely to justify military procurement by referring to military need, and may not justify defence and security expenditure at all.

This sub-indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

No evidence of legislative discussion and consultation was found. Previous sub-indicators of the Political Risk section explain that Parliament has no control over defense issues (its role and the role of the defense commission is a consultative one, and they only have access to a limited amount of information, as activity reports show). Moreover, no evidence was found that purchases were the result of lobbying or executive influence: the Moroccan and international press has not mentioned it, nor have human rights organisations. Given the lack of transparency on arms contracts and the consistent opacity surrounding them, the risk of corruption is highly increased. As defence-related power remains solely in the hands of the King, it is extremely common for defence decisions to be driven by domestic political pressures (1)(2)(3)(4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Given the secrecy around the acquisition process, it is difficult to know if acquisitions are granted as a result of political influence by seller nations. However, the assumption can be made that some acquisitions are made because of political influence. It would be difficult to assess how common this is though (1). Niger is striving to diversify its partners (2). For example, in 2013 Niger purchased two Sukhoy Su-25 jets. They are positioned in the region of Diffa to participate in military operations against Boko Haram (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The lack of justification(s) provided by the government for its (secret) acquisitions may warrant a score of 0. However, defence acquisitions equally appear to be driven by regional security concerns in the Sahel region (1,2), likely superseding any political motivations related to the political influence of selling nations.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Given the secrecy around the acquisition process, it is difficult to know if acquisitions are granted as a result of political influence by seller nations. However, the assumption can be made that some acquisitions are made because of political influence. It would be difficult to assess how common this is though (1). Niger is striving to diversify its partners (2). For example, in 2013 Niger purchased two Sukhoy Su-25 jets. They are positioned in the region of Diffa to participate in military operations against Boko Haram (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The government often justifies acquisitions based on military need. The asymmetrical nature of the insurgency has created a need for different defence material needs which are not often reflected in the demand for or the need for more resources to buy armaments which are not suited to that kind of warfare. For example, the request for attack planes which support ground troops is ineffective against insurgents embedded within communities (1).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

A recent example of this is the insurgency in the North East, which continues to dominate discussions in Nigeria. Recently, the president was widely criticised for spending funds without prior approval by the National Assembly. In response to the criticism, an aide to the president said that “the President, in withdrawing $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, acted under the doctrine of necessity, and that his action was justifiable” (1). It is unclear whether the doctrine of necessity is a concept referred to in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN). Under the constitution of the FRN, there is a requirement that there can be no utilisation of funds from the Excess Crude Account without the express approval of the Senate under the due process provisions of Sections 80 & 81 of the Constitution (2).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a strong belief that defence purchases are influenced by political ties with the selling nations, such as the USA and the UK. The UK is considered a close ally of Oman, mainly training Omani army and sharing technologies (1), (2). Defence suppliers according to a SIRPI fact sheet, indicate Oman’s main suppliers are companies based in the UK (38%), USA (28%) and Norway (7.9%), and news articles in Oman media outlets frequently report on close British-Omani military relations (3), (4), (5). According to a BTI report from 2018, “Oman maintains close relations and strategic partnerships with the United Kingdom, the United States and their Arab allies (especially Egypt and Jordan),” suggestive of strategic relations with the USA and UK, the principal arms sellers to Oman (6). The BTI report goes on to argue that frequent renewals of military co-operation, bases, and faculty access show Oman “remains dependent on both Britain and the United States” (7). In an opinion piece titled “Paying our rent or our protectors” from 2013 in Al-Jazeera America, Cairo-based journalist Jared Malsin argues that Oman’s purchases of weapons from the US are related to US hegemony and security protection (8). Oman’s strong relations with selling nations, whose political influence is widely recognized, suggests it is extremely common for defence decisions to be driven by political influence by seller nations.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a general policy in Oman where there is no justification or deliberation with regard to any policy. There has not been any case where the government justified military purchases to the public. There is a general headline which say that they need such purchases for national security region and security threats (5,6). The government does not publicly justify military procurement or defence and security expenditure. The al-Shoura, the consultative assembly, does not have the mandate to scrutinize issues of national security and free access to information does not include issues around national security (1,2). As outlined across sub-indicators in this sub-section, defence and security procurement is not transparent or accountable to the Omani public. Most information found around defence procurement is in foreign media outlets or foreign NGOs, where foreign government such as the United Kingdom are scrutinized by domestic media for arms sales to Oman (3,4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Commonly, defence purchases and acquisitions, as well as political and strategic decisions are based on the domestic political situation, considering Oman geographical location near Yemen and Iran (1). Since the unrest in 2011, there have been suggestions that defence and security procurement has increased (2), (3). However, there is little evidence to suggest that domestic pressures shape defence acquisition decisions, given the supreme power of the sultan with no public participation in decision making in Oman, and wider instability in the region such as the war in Yemen (4), (5). Given the lack of transparency around defence acquisitions, it is difficult to discern the extent domestic pressures plays in defence acquisition, while it is possible to hypothesise that domestic pressures are not the key factor in acquisitions, this cannot be proven.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Even though the national forces and security agencies in Palestine do not have huge acquisition demands, the limited number of acquisitions are usually driven by political influence (1). It is extremely common for national forces decisions to be inspired through political pressure from external donors like the USA, EU, and Russia (2), (3). Support is provided following donor countries’ regulations and not the Palestinian system in most cases (4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The government does not justify the national forces and security agencies procurement by referring to military needs, and it does not justify its domestic effects and security expenditure at all. They publish an aggregate spend in the budgets which accounts for more than 30% of the total budget. There is no mention of any justification with regards to procurement on the legislative council website or any of the agency websites (1).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

As Fatah is the leading party in the West Bank, and the entire PA under the influence of Fatah, national forces and security agencies decisions are driven by domestic political pressures (1). For instance, a clothes contract for the personnel goes to a businessperson from Fatah (1). Another example is vehicle maintenance, which goes to a workshop managed by Fatah members or affiliated with Fatah. This system is known as “AlSalmah Al Amniya” in Arabic, it is an informal institution of a “security check” where the procurement, as well as recruitment, goes through a security screening, and in majority of cases, Fata members get the bid because of their relationships with senior officials in the finance department or officers in the security apparatuses (2). Procurement is carried out through public procurement systems and procedures, regardless of the applicants’ political orientation, and security screening is common when dealing with security forces in various countries of the world. The security forces are currently working on establishing internal centres for the maintenance of vehicles (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

It is extremely common for defence decisions to be driven by the political influence of seller nations. [1] Qatar has always relied on western allies when guaranteeing its stability within a warring Gulf. There is evidence to suggest that Qatar’s Western allies are also Qatar’s weapons exporters. [2] The US, the UK, and France have been Qatar’s major weapons suppliers for decades, and Qatar has been considered one of the top military spenders and importer of military assets. Qatar has secured several large arms deals from France, which included a $7.1 billion contract for 24 Dassault Rafale aircrafts, and from the US, which included purchasing 24 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters for $2.4 billion. [3,4] In 2014, the UK has increased the number of licenses for the sale of arms to Qatar because of recent incidents in the Gulf countries, and due to the UK’s desire for Qatar to feel ‘safe’ in light of regional threats. Andrew Smith stated: ‘the UK has consistently armed many of the most brutal and authoritarian regimes in the world, and a number have been invited to London to buy weapons, these arms sales aren’t morally neutral, they are a clear sign of political and military support for the regimes they are being sold to. The government has played an absolutely central role and has consistently put arms exports to despots and dictators ahead of human rights.’ [3] It has become clear through research, that Qatar’s acquisition decisions are based on the political influence of selling nations.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

It has become clear throughout this assessment that the defence sector is not subject to any form of questioning, scrutiny or oversight. For this reason, there have been no cases of defence institutions justifying their expenditure or purchases. [1,2,3] Defence expenditure is not accessible to the public, nor are financial accounts of defence institutions. The parliament does not scrutinise or question government defence policy at all, neither does it question its acquisition. [4,5] The government is unlikely to justify military procurement, and may not justify its defence and security expenditure at all.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Domestic political pressure, in relation to defence decisions, does not exist. [1] The country has no political parties nor a functioning political system.  Besides that, freedom of speech, CSOs activities, and its own Advisory Council, do not have power over the defence sector deliberations or decision making. [2] Domestic pressure is absent because of the lack of transparency, and the nature of the regime does not allow political or social groups to have influence on the decision making. This sub-indicator is not relevant because defence acquisition is determined by the political elite and there is no possibility that domestic pressure could influence a decision.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

According to our sources, almost all arms deals of the KSA are politically motivated and sealed based on the political situation. Major arms imports are from the USA and the UK. Additionally, there are influences of these countries’ lobbyist groups and politicians that advise and encourage the KSA (especially MBS) to buy arms deals from their nations, which are usually approved (1), (2), (3). Saudi defence and arms deals have typically been predicated on realpolitik and political rationales rather than based strictly on military requirements. In the past, such deals appear to have been tied to political aims, such as solidifying and cementing strategic alliances with key allies such as France, the UK, and the US (4), (5). They can also take the form of quid pro quo arrangements for political support and/or and military protection, the most prominent illustration being the longstanding security arrangement between Saudi Arabia and the US, underpinned by intermittent weapons and defence deals (6), (7). The Saudi government frequently couples broader regional objectives. Saudi Arabia has also used potential weapons deals as a way to try to influence policy in selling nations. For example, the government reportedly offered to buy Russian weapons if that country would stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Saudi Arabia at the time sought to overthrow or adopt a more favourable stance towards Saudi Arabia in its cold war with Iran (8). According to a 2013 White Paper by IHS, Saudi and its Gulf neighbours “historically bought friendship and support” through material acquisition, with the primary suppliers being the UK, France, and the US.” The report further stated that since material procurement is used as a means of cementing relations and achieving broader aims, “political alignment is therefore vital for successful business” (9).

On the surface, it appears that such policies hold weight and have witnessed a measure of success. Specifically, allies such as the US and UK have consistently maintained good relations and supported Saudi Arabia despite opposition to Saudi foreign and domestic policy by other branches of government, lobby groups and others in the selling nations. For example, when lawmakers in the US attempted to block arms sales to Saudi following the disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October 2018, Trump was reticent of halting arms sales to Riyadh, claiming that the country would just shift its weapons purchases to Russia and China (10). UK leaders have also staunchly defended the country’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the wider relationship despite accusations of war crimes against the kingdom (11).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

According to our sources, there are no public deliberations or justifications for military procurements in the KSA. Therefore, it is also impossible to find any justification for the public aside from what rhetoric of the claim “regional threats” (1), (2), (3). Saudi Arabia does not publicly address or discuss its military procurement practices, and therefore it does not justify military and defence expenditure. Defence decisions are made unilaterally by the Minister of Defence Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who serves as Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and therefore is not subject to any external oversight or scrutiny by legislators or the public (4), (5).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

According to our sources, there are no political parties, no lobbyist groups, and no national groups that pressure the government to seal military purchases. Therefore, there is no domestic pressure as the public is not aware of what happens at the MoD (1), (2), (3). Saudi Arabia does not appear to make military purchases as a result of domestic pressures. On the contrary, its high-value defence deals appear to run contrary to local domestic needs. For example, estimates of Saudi defence spending in 2017 were 11.3%, despite the existence of many other pressing domestic needs especially concerning Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform program. There is little domestic need for the weapons, and industry analysts maintain that overspending on security, in fact, threatens Saudi domestic stability as it diverts funds from the core goals of social and economic development (4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

According to our sources, Tunisia is one of the few North African countries whose military acquisition is not driven by political influence from the selling nations for several reasons, mainly, the army size and the size of purchases, which means the country does not spend many resources compared to other countries in the region(1,2). Tunisia’s defence equipment inventory is largely based upon its historic links with France and the United States. Tunisia’s reliance on donations and low-cost loans have helped improve Tunisia’s relationship with the United States and European allies. China is also a potential supply source. Other countries such as the Netherlands sold military equipment to Tunisia (3). No evidence could be found allowing them to affirm that acquisition decisions are to be based on political influence by selling nations (4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

According to our sources, the Government explains and justifies in many cases the military expenditures. MoD did so a few times in the last years and early 2019(1,2). The Government may sometimes justify purchases by referring to military need. Several articles commenting major equipment acquisitions provide general justifications: fighting terrorism, fighting smuggling, and illegal immigration (3,4,5,6). The Minister of Defence explained before the Parliament on the occasion of the Budget discussion for the year 2019 the details of donations and funding of military acquisitions (7).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

According to our sources, there is no domestic pressure in relation to military purchases. There has never been any in the past(1,2,3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Research has revealed that the UAE is considered one of the top 15 military spenders and importers of military assets. The UAE is seeking to become a major global player by engaging with the P-5 countries, the US, France, the UK, China, and Russia, and by being open to all suppliers. The US is the major exporter of weapons to the UAE; however, the UAE has been attempting to diversify its suppliers by engaging with different arms suppliers. For example, the UAE-French deal includes LeClerc tanks, Mirage fighters, and Baynunah corvettes. The British Government provides the UAE with military and police training programmes (1). The UAE is still in negotiations with Russia and China; however, there is no evidence of actual weapons purchases over the past few years. According to many sources, defence sector purchases by the UAE are politically motivated and based on regional and international dynamics (2), (3), (4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no public deliberation within the UAE concerning any type of policy, including procurement and public spendings. Therefore, the government is unlikely to justify military procurements by referring to military need; the UAE does not justify its defence and security expenditures at all (1), (2), (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no evidence to suggest that domestic political pressure on defence decisions exist in the first place. It has already been established that the UAE has many restrictions on freedom of speech, CSOs activities, and its advisory council does not have power over the defence sector (1), (2), (3), (4).

Country Sort by Country 75a. Prevalence: selling nations Sort By Subindicator 75b. Justification Sort By Subindicator 75c. Prevalence: domestic pressures Sort By Subindicator
Algeria NS NS NS
Angola NS NS NS
Burkina Faso NS NS NS
Cameroon NS NS NS
Cote d'Ivoire NS NS NS
Egypt NS NS NS
Ghana NS NS NS
Jordan NS NS NS
Kuwait NS NS NS
Lebanon NS NS NS
Mali NS NS NS
Morocco NS NS NS
Niger NS NS NS
Nigeria NS NS NS
Oman NS NS NS
Palestine NS NS NS
Qatar NS NS NS
Saudi Arabia NS NS NS
Tunisia NS NS NS
United Arab Emirates NS NS NS

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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