News in Brief: $30 Billion US-Saudi Arms Deal in Progress; Minors Get Deportation Reprieve, and More

US Poised to Seal Ten-Year Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia

The Wall Street Journal reports that the United States and Saudi Arabia are on the brink of a ten-year, $30 billion arms deal that would include selling F-15 fighter jets to the Mideast kingdom. According to the Journal’s report, the deal represents the White House’s Mideast balancing act, as it tries to shore up support in the Gulf and “check Iranian power.” Under the proposed deal, the F15s would be stripped of certain weapons systems to allay some of Israel’s concerns regarding neighboring countries’ military power.

Guantanamo Detainee Trial Starts This Week

The trial of Canadian detainee Omar Khadr is scheduled to begin this week. Khadr has refused a plea deal and fired his defense team. According to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Khadr, who was captured when he was 15, is the son of an al-Qaeda financier.

Taliban Stretches Into Northern Afghanistan

Northern Afghanistan is not as unfriendly to the Taliban as initially thought. A National Public Radio report says that a springtime initiative in which US troops accompanied Afghan security forces into the northern areas has revealed that, although ethnic Pashtuns (long-time Taliban backers) aren’t a sizable presence in the north, the Taliban has gained a foothold in the mostly ignored area of the country.

Minors Get Deportation Reprieve

While lawsuits in Arizona rage, The New York Times reports that the Obama administration has backed off from deporting students who were illegally brought into the US when they were minors. The canceled and sometimes forestalled deportations are part of a push to support the Dream Act, which would grant citizenship to young undocumented immigrants. According to The New York Times, the bill, co-sponsored by Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana), would grant citizenship to over 700,000 students.

Meanwhile, the opposition fired back: Sen. John Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke this weekend about modifying the 14th Amendment. The senator said granting citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants encourages illegal immigration. This position is supported by Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, who successfully backed Proposition 200, which denied state aid to undocumented immigrants and wrote a state law in 2007 that punishes employers who knowingly hire them.

BP Says “Static Kill” a Success

Although continuing to drill a relief well, BP claims that its latest attempts at cutting off the Macondo well have been a success. Bloomberg says the well, which BP estimates flooded the Gulf of Mexico with 4.9 million barrels of oil over the course of almost 90 days, is expected to be permanently sealed this week.

Germany Shuts Down Mosque Linked to Terrorists

Hamburg’s Taiba Mosque, a meeting place for 9/11 plotters, has been shut down after an investigation concluded that it is “a major hub for the jihadist scene in Hamburg.” The BBC reports that no arrests have been made, but that a recent intelligence investigation linked the mosque to 45 radicals as well as terrorist training recruiting.