The business of war is booming in eastern Europe
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.