Gulf Cooperation Council arms race: Who sells to whom

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    Air forces of United Kingdom and Qatar conduct a military drill in Doha on November 30, 2017 [Defence Ministry of Qatar – Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

    The global trade in weapons is booming, with sales to the Middle East surging.

    Amid the regional instability, an arms race is under way in among Arab Gulf countries. The GCC members – Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait – have spent millions of dollars in new agreements.

    We take a look at the recent deals made by each of the countries.

    Saudi Arabia 

    So far, in 2018, Saudi Arabia has allocated over $3bn to arms deals.

    • Spain: On April 12, it was reported that Spain and Saudi Arabia are due to finalise a $2bn arms deal for the purchase of warships a Spanish defence ministry said.

    Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia would sell five small warships to the kingdom, and the deal would include the Spanish army training military personnel in Saudi Arabia and building a naval construction centre there. 

    • US: On April 8 the state department approved a possible sale of $1.31bn foreign military sale of self-propelled Howitzer systems and conversion equipment to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon reported.

    On March 22, the State Department said that it had approved a possible sale of an estimated $670m in anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia, just hours after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Pentagon leaders.

    On the same date the state department approved a possible sale of $300m spare parts of military, and $106.8m contract for helicopter maintenance.

    “This proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a friendly country,” the statement read.

    On January 18, the US government approved a $500m sale to Saudi Arabia in Missile System Support Service.

    • UK: On March 9, a memorandum of intent was signed between both countries aiming to finalise discussions for a purchase of 49 Typhoon Aaircraft.


    Qatar has allocated over $490m to arms deals in 2018. 

    • US: On March 8, the US government approved a possible sale to Qatar of equipment and support to upgrade the Qatari Emiri Air Force’s Air Operation Center for an estimated cost of $197m. 
    • On March 9, the US approved a possible military sale to Qatar of Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II Guidance Sections for an estimated cost of $300m.


    So far in 2018, Kuwait has allocated over $300m to arms deals.

    United Arab Emirates 

    United Arab Emirates has allocated more than $200m for arms purchase in 2018. 

    • US: On March 8, the US approved the possible sale to UAE of 300 AIM-Sidewinder Block II missiles, forty AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Captive Air Training Missiles, 30 Tactical guidance units for an estimated cost of $270.4m.


    View the original article:

    Oman has allocated more than $60m for buying weapons in 2018. 

    • US: On January 5, 2018 Oman requested a possible sale of items and services to support an incremental Operational Flight Profile, as well as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and secure communications equipment for an estimated cost of $62m.


    • US: Bahrain did not report any purchase in 2018 from the US.

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