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.
PARIS – U.S. President Donald Trump claims he is being "very tough" with Saudi Arabia and Britain has warned of "serious consequences." But besides demanding the truth about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the West is likely to continue doing business as usual with the Persian Gulf kingdom, experts say. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had been living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since late 2017, vanished on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork for his upcoming wedding. Turkish government sources say the 59-year-old writer, who was critical of some of the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was tortured and murdered there -- a claim Riyadh denies. The high-profile case has drawn attention to the large-scale crackdown on dissenters in Saudi Arabia, which was largely swept under the rug when its new 33-year-old strongman toured the U.S. and Europe earlier this year.
The attack comes after Iran exceeded their enriched uranium stockpile limit in the nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the international community to join him Saturday in condemning Iran for drone attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, which he described as "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President Hassan] Rouhani and [Foreign Minister Mohammad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo tweeted, referring to the nation's president and foreign affairs minister. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack hours before Pompeo's tweet. The world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field were impacted, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies. "The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression," Pompeo concluded. According to multiple news reports that cited unidentified sources, the drone attacks affected up to half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil, though the output should be restored within days. It remained unclear if anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Pompeo's description of the attack, calling it an "irresponsible simplification." "The Saudis and Houthis are at war.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Saudi Arabia called for swift action to secure Persian Gulf energy supplies and joined the United States in blaming Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in a vital shipping route that have raised fears of broader confrontation in the region. Thursday's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman exacerbated the antagonistic fallout from similar blasts in May that crippled four vessels. Washington, already embroiled in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, has blamed Tehran and Saudi Arabia's crown prince also accused Iran on Saturday. Iran has denied any role in the strikes on the tankers south of the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit route for oil from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, and other producers in the region. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said there must be "a rapid and decisive response to the threat" to energy supplies, market stability and consumer confidence, his ministry said on Twitter.