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.
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.
The fighting in eastern Syria demonstrates the threat still posed by IS despite claims by President Donald Trump the group has been defeated. The claims were challenged by his national security advisers and led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis and the top U.S. official in the coalition against IS. Over the weekend, Bolton announced the U.S. pullout would not be as immediate as Trump had initially declared.