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.
Below are the developments up to October 21. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to discuss the Qatar-Gulf crisis. Tillerson's tour of the region comes amid US frustration over the lack of movement in the crisis. "I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon," he said in an interview with financial news agency Bloomberg on Thursday. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad received Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Hamad Al Sabah in Doha on Thursday to discuss the ongoing Gulf crisis. The two men discussed the political dispute - along with Kuwait's ongoing efforts to mediate the crisis. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said he has little hope that the months-long Gulf diplomatic crisis will be resolved soon, blaming the Saudi-led group of countries for a lack of progress. Tillerson made the comments on Thursday, a day before he embarks on a trip to the region in a renewed attempt to mediate the dispute.
ANKARA – Turkish warplanes struck suspected Kurdish rebel positions in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from Baghdad and criticism from the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which is allied with Kurdish factions in both countries. Syrian activists said the attack killed at least 18 members of the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, which is a close U.S. ally against IS but is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey's Kurdish rebels. The airstrikes also killed five members of the Iraqi Kurdish militia known as the peshmerga, which is also battling the extremist group with help from the U.S.-led coalition. The YPG said the strikes hit a media center, a local radio station, a communication headquarters and some military posts, killing an undetermined number of fighters in the town of Karachok, in Syria's northeastern Hassakeh province. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that monitors all sides of the conflict, said the strikes killed 18 YPG fighters.
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?