(MENAFN - Morocco World News) Rabat – With its numerous ongoing intra and inter-states conflicts, the MENA region is generally seen as a hub of wars and confrontations, an extremely unstable place, with the Institute for Economics and Peace even ranking it the world's most violent region in its most recent
Such a climate of violence and instability requires governments to engage in huge military investments to defend their disputed territorial integrity, sustain national security, deter increasing terrorist threats, and sometimes even impress one another, given the evident power rivalry among many of the region's states.
But despite mounting security challenges and constant insurgencies, the MENA region is still home to some of the best armies in the world, especially with the spectacularly increasing military might of countries such as Turkey, Israel and Iran.
Morocco, according to the most recent (Global Firepower), can take pride in being one of the strongest military powers in the MENA region.
The GFP, which provides a comprehensive assessment of countries 'military might, as it entails criteria such as military budget, home-based security industry, active manpower, quality of military equipments, sailors and pilors that can be relied on in case of emergency, diverse range in the defense arsenal, etc, has ranked Morocco 54thstrongest army in the world, and 8th in the MENA region.
Morocco, whose active personnel is estimated at the impressive number of 195,000 (175,000 army personnel, 13,000 in the Royal Air Force and 7,800 in the navy) is also said to possess the 5th largest armed forces in the MENA region.
Moreover, the kingdom's GFP score, which is 0.8702 (lowest is best in the GFP index), bespeaks its undisputed experience in securing stability and security in an otherwise conflict-torn region, say observers.
Morocco's weakness however remains its small military budget. With a current defense budget of $3.5bn, Morocco is one of the least spenders in the region, Saudi Arabia being the largest spender by far with $76.7bn, a number greater than that of the next five largest MENA spenders combined.
, while a number of surface-to- air missiles, fighters, and many other state-of-the art military equipments have recently been purchased, a recent illustration being the acquisition by the Kingdom of the China-made Sky Dragon 50, the latest generation of air defense system.
'In the next five years, Morocco's goal is to acquire 8 GM radars, 16 stations for long-range radars, as well as several other stations for medium and low-range radars,' military expert Abdelhamid Harifi recently told the press, underlining that Morocco possesses some of the most performing F16s in the region.
Here is' ranking based on the GFP index:
10) United Arab Emirates
Active Personnel: 63,000. 2017 budget: unknown. GFP score: 0.9087
Active Personnel: 64,000. 2017 budget: $19.3bn. GFP score: 0.8961
Active Personnel: 195,000. 2017 Budget: $3.5bn. GFP score: 0.8702
Active Personnel: 142,500. 2017 budget: unknown. GFP score: 0.7603.
Active personnel: 130,000. 2017 Budget: $10bn. GFP score: 0.4366
5) Saudi Arabia
Active personnel: 227,000. 2017 Budget: $76.7bn. GFP: 0.4302
Active personnel: 523,000. 2017 budget: $16bn. GFP: 0.3933
Active personnel: 176,500. 2017 budget: $18.5bn. GFP: 0.3476
Active personnel: 438,500. 2017 budget: $2.7bn. GFP: 0.2676
Active Personnel: 355,800. 2017 budget: $8bn. GFP: 0.2491