The busi­ness of war is boom­ing in eastern Europe

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Foreign News -

SOFIA: Eastern Euro­pean arms ex­porters are cap­i­tal­is­ing on years of tur­moil in the Mid­dle East.

Mak­ers of bul­lets, as­sault ri­fles and guided mis­siles in coun­tries in­clud­ing Bul­garia and the Czech Re­pub­lic have seen de­mand surge as con­flicts swept across the re­gion in the wake of the Arab Spring.

As well as selling weapons to na­tions ac­tively in­volved in fight­ing, such as Iraq and Saudi Ara­bia, they’ve also struck deals with the US and other third par­ties.

“The uptick in arms sales to the Mid­dle East does ap­pear to have co­in­cided with a gen­eral ramp up in armed con­flict in the re­gion,” Lu­cas Dos San­tos, head of Europe coun­try risk at BMI Re­search, said by email.

“While the worst may be be­hind us, low level con­flict will sim­mer on for some time. As such, de­mand should re­main fairly well sup­ported.”

Ex-com­mu­nist Europe re­mains em­bed­ded in mil­i­tary sup­ply chains that date back to the Soviet Union, whose clients of­ten in­cluded gov­ern­ments in the Mid­dle East.

That’s helped them out­strip global growth in weapons and mil­i­tary equip­ment sales, which reached 8.4% be­tween 2012 and 2016, the big­gest five-year jump since 1990, ac­cord­ing to the Stock­holm In­ter­na­tional Peace Re­search In­sti­tute.

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