Qatar has had to spend $18 billion to remain the Middle East’s most peaceful country, revealed the Global Peace Index report.
The country was ranked 34th most peaceful out of 163 independent states in the report published by The Institute for Economics and Peace.
While its ranking is the highest in the region, it has fallen from 30th place to 34th place in 2015. In 2012, it was ranked as high as 12th on the list. The report did not reveal reasons behind the fall, but said it was partly due to severe instability and violent conflict in the region.
The countries’ peacefulness levels were measured using 23 indicators across three main themes, including level of safety and security in society, extent of domestic or international conflict and degree of militarization.
Qatar scored well in terms of internal peace and low levels of crime, but it scored the worst mark, a 5/5, for weapons importing. It spent seven percent of its 2014 GDP, $18.24 billion (QR66.39 billion), towards “costs related to violence, armed conflict and spending on military and internal security services,” revealed the report.
Other Middle Eastern countries, such as Kuwait, came in 51st place, while the UAE and Oman came in 61st and 74th respectively. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain ranked 129th and 132nd consecutively.
Reasons for the low rankings are related to the UAE’s military involvement in Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s threats from ISIS, and Bahrain’s military aid in Syria and Yemen.