Forecast Roundtable – The Khashoggi Murder and its Effects on Saudi-U.S.-Turkey Relations

 By Matthew Beres and Dan Darling, Forecast International.

Welcome to the Forecast Roundtable Podcast. Forecast Roundtable brings together expert analysts, industry professionals, and government officials to discuss the latest issues in the aerospace and defense markets. Produced at the Forecast International headquarters, Forecast Roundtable offers unique and in depth insight and discussion on any range of topics from geopolitics to aerospace and defense markets.

This episode features Daniel Darling, Jim Head, and Derek Bisaccio on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how his death impacts Saudi Arabia’s arms imports. Continue reading

Examining U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo departs from King Salman Air Base on October 17. He is accompanied by the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman. Photo: Ron Przysucha / U.S. Department of State

The news of the disappearance and killing of The Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi has put a spotlight on the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially the close security ties between the two countries. President Donald Trump remains reluctant to address arms sales in response to the crisis. He has contended that terminating those sales would hurt the U.S. economy.[i] Congress, however, is not buying the president’s argument and may seek to force his hand, if nothing else by seeking to delay or slow down the approval process for weapons.[ii] Continue reading

Spain Halts, Renews Saudi Arms Deal

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (then the Deputy Crown Prince) in a 2016 meeting in Riyadh with then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Source: U.S. Department of Defense.

Earlier in September, a curious development took place in Spanish-Saudi bilateral relations. On September 4, Spain announced that it had terminated the sale of 400 precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and would return a $10.6 million payment to the Gulf nation.[i] The announcement won praise from human rights agencies, but prompted head-scratching even within the Spanish government. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat the day after the report emerged, the Spanish Consul to Saudi Arabia, Pablo Perez, said, “The Spanish embassy was surprised by these claims,” noting that “our ties with Saudi Arabia are fraternal and friendly.”[ii] Around a week later, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell announced a reversal, saying that the Spanish government “found no reason not to carry” the munition sale out.[iii] Continue reading

After Counterinsurgency Victory, Syria Looks to Rearm

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov in November 2017. Source: Russian Presidency website

More than seven years after domestic protests broke out against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian military, with Iranian and Russian backing, has achieved victory over insurgent forces. Pockets of anti-government forces certainly remain, including in the southwest and southeast of Syria, as well as the province of Idlib in the northwest, and a large question mark hangs over the future of the Syrian government’s relations with the U.S.-protected People’s Protection Units (known by the Kurdish acronym YPG) and of portions of rebel territory where Turkey has deployed troops. Nevertheless, the war for the ouster of President Assad is at its conclusion. Continue reading

White House Announces Full Lifting of Arms Embargo on Vietnam

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

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During his visit to Hanoi on May 23, President Barack Obama announced the full lifting of a long-standing U.S. ban on weapons sales to Vietnam. The move comes as the militaries of both nations push for closer relations, with the U.S. Navy in particular hoping to see an increase in port visits to Vietnam and access to port facilities in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay. Continue reading