Southwest Asia:

Cost of Protecting U.S. Interests

NSIAD-91-250: Published: Aug 14, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the cost of activities related to the protection of U.S. interests in Southwest Asia for fiscal years (FY) 1980 through 1990, focusing on: (1) U.S. military programs and activities in the region; (2) bilateral military and economic assistance to countries of strategic importance in the area; (3) multilateral economic assistance to countries in the Middle East; and (4) bilateral and multilateral nonmilitary assistance to any petroleum-producing country for activities related to petroleum exploration, production, and distribution.

GAO found that: (1) the Department of Defense (DOD) estimated that it spent $21.4 billion during FY 1980 through 1990 for military programs and activities directly related to Southwest Asia-specific missions and $5.8 billion for other programs and activities that were primarily Southwest Asia-oriented; (2) DOD invested about $272.6 billion in programs that, although motivated by requirements outside of Southwest Asia, have met contingencies in the region; (3) the United States provided $30.8 billion in foreign military assistance and $28 billion under its economic assistance programs to countries of strategic importance in Southwest Asia, with about 91 percent of this assistance going to Israel and Egypt; (4) international organizations and multilateral development banks provided about $6.6 billion in loans and grants from 1980 through 1990 to countries in the Middle East; (5) although the United States has provided a significant amount of bilateral energy assistance to the Middle East, it has not provided bilateral assistance for activities related to petroleum exploration, production, and distribution; and (6) the World Bank provided about $3.8 billion in loans and financing throughout the world for petroleum exploration, production, and distribution.