STOCKHOLM (Combined Sources)–Worldwide military spending increased in 2009 at the fastest pace since 2003, a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says, noting a more than 400 percent increase in military spending in Azerbaijan since 2000.
According to the report, Azerbaijan increased its military budget 471 percent from 2000 to 2009; in that same period, Chad increased its military budget 663 percent and Kazakhstan increased 360 percent. Worldwide military spending jumped 5.9% in 2009 to $1.5 trillion, despite a recession that shrunk the global economy 2.2%.
As the world’s military spending increased nearly 50% over the past decade, the biggest military budget increases were seen in small, oil-rich countries flooded with new wealth, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
Azerbaijan, the Monitor said, used oil revenues to beef up forces along its border with Armenia, which has traditionally had a stronger army and enjoys strategic terrain advantages. The International Crisis Group said in a report last year that Azerbaijan’s stronger military could put the fragile truce with Armenia under threat.’
“Azerbaijan has been playing catch-up with Armenia,” Sam Perlo-Freeman, one of the report’s authors and the head of SIPRI’s military expenditure project, told the Christian Science Monitor.