According to The Military Balance 1989-1990, a manual published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Israel is the most powerful nation in the region. It has an army of 104,000 active and 504,000 reserve troops; a navy of 9,000 with 1,000 reserves; an air force of 28,000 with 9,000 reserves; sophisticated spy devices; an array of tanks, submarines, ships, high-tech warplanes and artillery; and missiles capable of delivering conventional as well as nuclear warheads.
Iraq has built up its military since [Saddam Hussein] took power in 1979. Roughly half of its 1 million troops are active reservists, according to The Military Balance. The bulk of the total are ground forces, with only 5,000 in the navy and perhaps 40,000 in the air force. Its arsenal includes an estimated 500 combat aircraft, about the same as Israel, but neither the planes nor their pilots are thought to be at the same level as Israel's.
The Military Balance estimates Syria's active forces at 404,000 and its reserves at another 400,000. Experts believe Syria, which has a longstanding rivalry with Iraq, has chemical weapons in addition to the considerable ground, sea and air arsenals the Soviet Union helped it to build in the past decade.
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