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10 Middle East Countries with Strongest Militaries in 2024

31 January 2024 11:03 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaIsrael is reportedly one of the countries with the strongest military power in the Middle East and even the world. The state, which occupies the Palestinian territories, receives more than US$3.8 billion or about Rp60.2 trillion (at an assumed exchange rate of Rp15,863 per US dollar) in annual defense funding from the United States.

The Middle East is the land around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, including at least the Arabian Peninsula. According to Britannica, several definitions include Iran and North Africa, and sometimes beyond, as part of the Middle East.

Middle East encompasses the states or territories of Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Yemen, Jordan, and the territorial states of Arabia, namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Global Firepower (GFP) published its annual defense review of 15 Middle East countries with the best defense systems. It weighed up more than 60 factors to determine each nation's Power Index score, including main weapons systems, financial conditions, and logistical and geographic capabilities.

Here are the Middle East countries that make it into the top ten with the strongest militaries in 2024:

1. Turkiye

Turkiye tops the list with a Power Index score of 0.1697, up from previously 0.2016 last year. The country led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is estimated to have 335,000 active soldiers, 378,700 reserve personnel, and 150,000 paramilitary troops.

2. Iran

Iran's military strength index score was recorded at 0.2712, surpassing Egypt's. Under the leadership of Ebrahim Raisi, Iran allocated a defense system budget of US$9.9 billion.

3. Egypt

Egypt ranked third with a strength index score of 0.2283, a drop from last year's 0.2224. The Land of the Pyramids allocated US$9.4 billion for its national defense system.

4. Israel

Apart from a fantastic budget, the Israeli military is also equipped with various sophisticated defense equipment, one of the most famous being the Iron Dome. Israel also requires its citizens over the age of 18 to participate in military service. Its index score is 0.2596, compared to 0.2757 in 2023.

5. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has a Power Index score of 0.3235 and a defense budget of US$71.72 billion. Its active personnel number amounted to 257,000.

6. Iraq

According to the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) website, Iraq supported its national defense system with an estimated US$25 billion in defense equipment purchases in just nine years (1980-1989). Its Power Index score rose to 0.7441 from 0.7365 in 2023.

7. UAE

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known as the home of the oil and gas sultans. It has a defense budget of US$15.5 billion and sees a higher Power Index score of 0.8083 from 0.8978 last year.

8. Syria

Syria also sees an increase in its Power Index score to 1.0026 from previously 1.1095. The country led by Bashar al-Assad has 170,000 active personnel and 50,000 reserve personnel.

9. Qatar

Qatar rises to ninth place with a Power Index score of 1.0789, up from 1.1296 last year.

10. Kuwait

Kuwait is ranked in the top ten of the Middle Eastern countries with the strongest militaries in 2024 with a PowerIndex score of 1.4261, replacing Yemen which is ranked 13th this year. The defense system of the southernmost country on the Arabian Peninsula is supported by 36 fighter jets and 16 attack helicopters.

MELYNDA DWI PUSPITA | ANDIKA DWI

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