If military power is proportional to military spending, why isn't Saudi Arabia militarily superior to Israel?

The Saudis have a higher defense spending than Israel. Plus they have more resources with which to sustain a long term war. Even if they're not battle hardened like the Israelis, why don't they at least have LATENT military superiority? Is it perhaps because there is something else that sets the Israelis apart?

9 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Israel is a westernized democracy. Saudi Arabia is a despotic monarchy with a veneer of westernism over a deep layer of rejection of western values and customs. In his excellent "Carnage and Culture," Victor Hanson explores both the general thesis and several case studies in which Eastern despotisms fell militarily to Western democracies, even when the correlation of forces was lopsided in each battle to the despotism.


    This pattern goes all the way back to the warfare between the Greeks and Persians, in which democratic Greek military formations invariably triumphed against superior Persian forces, because the democratic Greeks were more prone to discard ineffective tactics and to develop superior military technology than were the Persians under their system of satraps and levied troops.

    While Hanson's reasoning isn't bulletproof, he does make a number of very good points. I think that his theory may be close to defining that difference you're seeking between the modern state of Israel and the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    A case in point - while Saudi Arabia was outfitted with old DF-5 medium-range ballistic missiles by China, they lack the domestic capacity to maintain these missiles or upgrade them. Pakistan, another Muslim country, but one which has more thoroughly westernized (not to the extent that Israel has, to be sure) IS capable of taking Chinese missiles, maintaining them properly, and even modifying them with minimal Chinese assistance.

    Pakistan learned the lesson (to a limited extent) of westernizing, so that their military capability benefits from constant questioning, independent intellectual inquiry, and disciplined application of technological theory.

    Of course, the Pakistanis are still hampered by a ruling class of thieves and cutthroats, so that the decisions they make on how to use the (say) nuclear weapons given them by the Westernized AQ Khan are not going to be anywhere as good as the weapons which will carry out those decisions.

    Notice that India and Pakistan are STILL at loggerheads over Kashmir; neither AQ Khan's nuclear weapons nor the terrorists Pakistan has salted Kashmir with sufficed to overcome the much more highly westernized India's hold on Kashmir.

    It is unclear that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will ever reach even Pakistan's level of competence in military matters, much less Israel's, as long as their people's minds are shaped by Wah'habist Islam clerics who view every facet of Western civilization with implacable hostility. That country places a premium on ignorance, not knowledge, and the cost to them will eventually be dear, should they ever have to fight a war without Western assistance.

  • 10 years ago

    Because the saudi's all want to be pilots or tank commanders.

    They do not want to do any other jon.

    They do not like training, doing maintenance, etc.

    IE: they like to play soldier, but do not want to do the actual work necessary to actually be a soldier.

    So you can have all the expensive toys you want to have, but if you do not know how to use them or maintain them, they do not do you much good.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the kuwait military now.

    Kuwait was like the above, before the first gulf war, then after the gulf war, they had a major change of mind set, all of a sudden, training hard became the thing to do. They actually did the small things and the dirty jobs that needed doing, they learned maintenance, etc.

    But now the treat of Sadsam is gone, just how long will they continue to do so, before they go back to the Saudi model.

  • 10 years ago

    You make a very bad assumption. The amount of spending has little to do with power. For example, North Korea probably spends more of their GDP proportioanlly on the military than any other country on the planet. Does that make them the most powerful? Throwing money at an issue in most cases has ever done little. It has always come down to innovation and know how. Turned aroound another way, the insurgents in both of our current wars can't come close to spending what we do proportionally on the military, but they seem to do okay wouldn't you say?

  • 4 years ago

    yes israel will win the war and controllling saudi but will let mecca and medina under special treaty . Israel have strong invincible and sophisticated air defence force enough to control every traffics and movements to weaken arabs land forces without invading saudis ,,,,every military installations and saudis forces can be easily destroy from air latest air strikes so easy as what they did in lebanon and syria without any casualties . Western worlds will 100 % supports Israel against Islam that for sure . Look like Israel have God support but will see when realty come to the truth.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    training, dedication, patriotism.

    You can have all the gadgets in the world but if you don't know how to use or maintain them you might as well be running around with clubs and kitchen knives for all the good they will do you.

    And that's essentially the state of the Saudi military. A lot of fancy gadgets they don't really know how to make proper use of.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    The Israelis are a warrior culture, they have been fighting not stop since they became a nation,

    Think of how powerful the Spartans were, same concept, they live, eat, and breathe service to their country over there

  • 10 years ago

    Because Saudis are peaceful people they don't occupy any ones land and never been engaged in wars or massacres!!

    The weapons they buy can not use against Israel and meant to be used only against US enemies

  • lg
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    Their will to fight for women, child an country not in a fanatical way but in using there intelligence. sacrifice is not worth the loss of life if not for a survival reason. Kamikaze never fought until they drop with an instinct to survive they just drop and abandon during combat.

    that will to survive and protect drive people to greatness. read on the canadian and british Victoria Cross winner in the 2 great wars and you will see what i mean.

    Source(s): ex military
  • 10 years ago

    Saudi Arabia is a peaceful nation whom does NOT get SIX BILLION a year in free US taxpayor money(forgiven loans), far more than SA spends militarily, like Israel to murder innocent Palestinians - stealing their land, water(85% of Israel's water supply is tolen Arab water - Lebanon's Litani rive, the Jordan river and the acquifiers in the West Bank and Gaza strips - STILL not enough - in their worst EVER fresh water shortage):

    Israel's peace plan does NOT include Arabs - here is a very small sample:

    The King David Massacre

    The Massacre at Baldat al-Shaikh




    The Semiramis Hotel Massacre

    The Massacre at Dair Yasin








    Salha Massacre

    The Massacre at Qibya


    Khan Yunis Massacre

    The Massacre in Gaza City


    Aitharoun Massacre

    Kawnin Massacre

    Hanin Massacre

    Bint Jbeil Massacre

    Abbasieh Massacre

    Adloun Massacre

    Saida Massacre

    Fakhani Massacre

    Beirut Massacre Sabra And Shatila Massacre

    Jibsheet Massacre

    Sohmor Massacre

    Seer Al Garbiah

    Maaraka Massacres

    Zrariah Massacre

    Homeen Al-Tahta Massacre

    Jibaa Massacre

    Yohmor Massacre

    Tiri massacre

    Al-Naher Al-Bared Massacre

    Ain Al-Hillwee Massacre


    Siddiqine Massacre




    Aramta Massacre


    Deir Al-Zahrani Massacre

    Nabatiyeh (school bus) Massacre

    Mnsuriah Massacre

    The Sohmor Second Massacre

    Nabatyaih Massacre

    Qana Massacre

    Trqumia Massacre

    Janta Massacre

    24 Of June 1999 Massacres

    Western Bekaa villages Massacre

    Gaza "Cast lead operation" Massacre

    Since 1922, first with the Jews, then israel, Israel has constantly attacked her Arab neighbors, haveing started every war except the 1973 war where Egypt won back her Sinai, killing Arabs and stealing THEIR land, water, and, most recently, BY HER OWN ADMISSION, their organs(NO, not the Swedish article(was right on the nose)- the ARREST,TRIED, CONVICTED(including JEWISH witnesses), and JAILED Rabbi Levy Rosenbaum and his Rabbinical organ theft ring AND ISRAEL'S OWN RECENT ADMISSION :





    Now, she is also working on NON Arab Iran.

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