Bucking a global trend of reining in military spending, 23 countries around the world at least doubled their military spending between 2004 and 2013, according to a fact sheet released by The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) last week.
Spending increases are largely clustered around the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. Afghanistan topped the list of nations that have increased spending with a 557% spike, largely stemming from its efforts to create a national army as U.S. troops start leaving the region.
Azerbaijan ranks second in military spending with an increase of 493%, followed by Iraq with an increase of 284% in military spending.
Azerbaijan is locked in a territorial dispute with Armenia over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Iraq, meanwhile, is engaged in an escalating battle with jihadist and Sunni fighters in its western Anbar province.
Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia have also at least doubled their military spending over this stretch of time. The three countries are now the biggest spenders globally on defence after the U.S.
The following chart from SIPRI presents the 23 countries that have doubled their military spending since 2004:
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