Gulf Cooperation Council arms race: Who sells to whom

Al Jazeera

The global trade in weapons is booming, with sales to the Middle East surging. Amid regional instability, an arms race is under way among Arab Gulf countries. The members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait - have spent billions of dollars on weapons this year alone. Here's a look at the recent deals made. So far in 2018, Saudi Arabia has allocated over $3bn to arms deals.

Saudi Arabia pushes Palestinians to consider nascent U.S. peace plan

The Japan Times

BEIRUT/RIYADH/AMMAN – Saudi Arabia pulled no punches when it condemned President Donald Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But Palestinian officials say Riyadh has also been working for weeks behind the scenes to press them to support a nascent U.S. peace plan.

How will Iran and Turkey deal with Kurdish state bid?

Al Jazeera

Iran and Turkey may seem like unlikely partners following events of the past few years, especially in Syria. But they are saying the same thing about the recent "Yes" vote in the Kurdish referendum, as neither want Kurdish people living in northern Iraq to secede. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani welcomed him to discuss curbs on the Kurds' dream of their own homeland. Turkey is threatening to stop buying oil from the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, while Iran has mobilised troops on its border with the region. What more can de done, beyond an economic embargo?

For sake of summit, Japan snubbed G-7 leaders in condemning Russia for Syria crisis

The Japan Times

The government declined calls for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to join Western leaders in condemning Russia in December over the Syrian civil war, fearing that doing so would negatively affect his impending summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, diplomatic sources said. Japan's dissociation from that action, despite its role this year as chair of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, has drawn criticism that it put its interests ahead of the humanitarian crisis in the city of Aleppo and damaged G-7 solidarity. In a statement issued Dec. 7, the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United States called for an immediate cease-fire in Aleppo, condemned the Syrian government for its attacks, and condemned Russia, Syria's chief backer, for blocking humanitarian aid. It also called on the United Nations to investigate reports of alleged war crimes and evidence to hold perpetrators responsible, while singling out Russia for preventing the U.N. Security Council from working effectively to end atrocities in Aleppo. Sources close to the G-7 said that with the exception of Japan, the leaders of its member countries, including U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, backed the statement.

Syrian Kurdish Official Praises US Decision to Provide Arms

U.S. News

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will arm the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces "as necessary" to recapture the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. NATO ally Turkey strongly objects to the alliance because it sees the Kurds as an extension of the insurgency raging in its southeast.