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.

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.

U.S.-Led Coalition Helps Train Raqqa Police: Syrian Kurdish Officials

U.S. News

They said the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, also had advanced plans to install a civilian council in the city once it falls. It would consist mainly of Arabs, in line with Raqqa's demography, but also include Kurds and other ethnic groups.

Turkish Court Releases Pro-Kurdish Lawmaker From Jail

U.S. News

Turkey's pro-Kurdish political party has announced the release from prison of one of their lawmakers pending a trial on terror charges. Ayhan Bilgen, a former spokesman for the People's Democratic Party, or HDP, was released Friday, according to the party's current spokesman, Osman Baydemir. State-run Anadolu news agency said that Bilgen is facing up to 23 years in prison for three separate crimes after being detained in January for alleged membership of a terror organization. The Turkish government accuses the party of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The HDP denies the accusation.