Updated 6:02 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 01, 2020

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Saudi Arabia Establishes Huge Company to Supply Weapons for its Growing Military Campaigns

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(Photo : Royal Saudi Army) Saudi Arabian army soldiers in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has established Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), its first state-owned military industrial company that will both reduce its dependence on the United States and Western countries for advanced weapons and assist in growing its economy.

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SAMI is being financed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom's top sovereign wealth fund. PIF said SAMI said should contribute up to $3.7 billion to the kingdom's gross domestic product by 2030.

SAMI is also expected to create over 40,000 jobs by 2030.

On the military side, SAMI "will lead the military industries sector to increase local content, increase exports and bring foreign investment to the kingdom by entering into joint ventures with major international military industry companies," said Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.

"The company will seek to be a key catalyst ... to localize 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by the year 2030," up from only two percent today, said Prince bin Salman, as quoted by Saudi state-run media.

SAMI will work in the repair and maintenance of aircraft, as well as in the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or aerial drones. It will also work on military vehicles, ammunition, radar, communications systems and electronic warfare systems.

The prince in 2016 launched his Vision 2030 reform initiative intended to boost jobs and revenue to prepare for a future with lower oil income.

SAMI is necessary to bolster the Royal Saudi Arabian Armed Forces currently engaged in a bloody campaign in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition of 10 Arab states that has been fighting in the Yemini Civil War since March 2015 to restore to power the legitimate regime of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi ousted by Shia Houthi rebels militarily supported by Iran.

The Saudi-led coalition includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan. That little known but vicious campaign has seen Saudi military deaths exceed 430 men.

The creation of SAMI will also provide material support to the newly established Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (also known as the Islamic Military Alliance or IMA).

Dominated by Sunni Muslim countries around the world, IMA has 41 member states and was founded by Prince bin Salman in December 2015.

IMA is an intergovernmental counter-terrorist alliance of countries with large Muslim populations. Its joint operations center is located in Riyadh.

Its job is to confront "the Islamic world's problem with terrorism" through all means, including military force. It plans to be a partner "in the worldwide fight against this scourge" said the prince.

He also said IMA will coordinate efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

"There will be international coordination with major powers and international organizations ... in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq."

Members of the IMA are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, Palestine, Comoros, Qatar, Cote d'Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Oman, Maldives. 

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