Analysis of the results of the summit of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) with the US President Barack Obama widely publicised by Washington makes it possible to make far-reaching conclusions and to some extent to suggest the development of future events in the Middle East Region.
On the eve of the visit of the heads of the GCC in the United States numerous speculations on the results of the summit and the most inconceivable assumptions appeared. Firstly, many political analysts literally got stuck on the refusal of the Saudi king Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud to come to the United States. Immediately world media hysterically suggested a sharp deterioration in relations between the two countries. It was believed that the king sharply “bucked” against American plans to improve their relations with Iran, that has quite naturally led to a diminution of the US-Saudi relations.
However, the facts show a slightly different direction. It is true that neither Saudi Arabia nor the other members of the GCC are happy with the adjustment of the international community of its relations with Tehran. “From Obama’s point of view the diplomatic agreement with Iran on limiting its nuclear program provides a unique opportunity to stop the escalating conflict in the region,” the New York Times says. “From the standpoint of the Saudi government, led by Sunnis, the easing of sanctions in the proposed transaction simply gives Iran, which is dominated by Shiites, billions of dollars in order to provoke instability in the region.”
In Riyadh, they would like to preserve the situation in the Gulf region as it was, at least, for the last 50 years: Saudis determine the situation not only in the region but throughout the Arab world. To be exact, these are the Saudis who seek to control events and to determine, which government should be in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and even in faraway Libya. It is quite clear that the emergence of a new power, liberated from far-fetched international sanctions, will reduce the impact of the kingdom. Especially as Iran even under trying conditions of sanctions showed high rates of development that is altogether absent in “free” Gulf States.
Second, the king could not go to the US for health reasons. It is enough to just look at Saudi TV and Youtube with the participation of the Saudi King to understand that his health is deteriorating. It is difficult for him to walk no more than 5 meters with a cane, and he immediately sits down in his chair. All Saudi kings, the sons of Ibn Saud, the famous creator of the Saudi kingdom, are big people who suffer from severe spinal cord disease once in their 70s. Moreover, it was Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who spent a lot of effort, managing Saudi Arabia for the last 10 years on behalf of his brother, the then ailing King Abdullah, who also suffered from spinal disease. Today the new king’s health leaves something to be desired, and no wonder that Washington using its authority and influence, forced him to appoint a new crown prince, the future king.
And it may be added that the Saudi king is not a good negotiator and rules the kingdom only through medieval laws that in today’s world is an absolute nonsense.
However, it altogether satisfies the so-called democratic US, that by means of missiles alter the form of governments in many countries of the world, but not in the medieval Saudi Arabia. So I want to remind the current “democratic” rulers of Washington of the saying: “Tell me with whom thou goest, and I’ll tell thee what thou doeste.”
That was the future Saudi king Muhammad bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who headed the Saudi delegation that quite satisfied the current US administration. After all, he has excellent business relationships with the official Washington to the extent that it prompted the Iranian newspaper Tehran Times to write: “In other words, the new crown prince is not only a product of the influence of the West, but an experienced specialist in the field of the gendarmerie and the guidance of internal order in the kingdom.” Another member of the delegation is the son of the current king, 29-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, who is currently running the military operations against the Yemeni rebels, will get a good practice in negotiations.
However, the general delegation was headed by none other than the Emir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. There is no doubt that in the Arab expanse he is the most experienced diplomat and negotiator. He was the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister for almost 40 years and when he became the Emir he participated and often led the majority of the negotiations that were conducted by the Arabs, both among themselves and on the international arena. To negotiate with the powerful of the world and to get maximum results is quite common right for him.
During the talks at Camp David, the Arab side expected, according to the world press, Obama administration to relieve them from the anxiety about Iran. In this regard, they proposed to sign a contract with the US on mutual defence, similar to those that are in place between the US and Japan, as well as between the US and South Korea. Such an agreement would oblige America to defend Gulf Arab states against possible aggression of Iran. But the White House felt that they could not win the support of the US Congress with such an agreement and therefore this alternative did not pass.
However, Barack Obama assured his Arab allies that the United States considered it one of their primary tasks to maintain security in the region and the preservation of its territorial integrity. For the sake of peace and prosperity in the region, that is of great interest to Americans, as Barack Obama assured, Washington is ready to not only help their allies to develop their own missile defence system (including the early warning system), but also to accelerate the transfer of arms and to provide trainers for the preparation of border guards and special forces. The number of joint exercises will be increased, too, and the US will receive tremendous dividends for all this. Confirming the readiness to defend allies from any external intrusion, Barack Obama also promised to confront “Iran’s destabilising activities” as much as possible.
Anticipating the concerns of the leaders of the Arabian Peninsula, the US president said that the nuclear deal with Iran that the US were still seeking to conclude, would not pose any threat to the Gulf countries and bring additional destabilisation. And apparently, President Barack Obama managed to convince the GCC that the potential cooperation between the US and Iran on nuclear program may take place – as it was noted in the joint statement that Arab leaders also made after the summit.
At the same time the Arab side appears to have the pledge from the US to increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication to the US President, said during the negotiations at Camp David, that the White House was “ready to consider options for establishing no-fly zones over Syria”. But in March, the US Secretary of State John Kerry hinted at the desirability of certain negotiating contacts with al-Assad. As you can see, it’s already become a familiar manner of the present US administration to shy away in one or other direction but always guarding only their own interests.
Nevertheless, the results of the Arab-American summit clearly showed that the United States that have not tied themselves with much promises will continue their own game in the Gulf region. And it is not probably accidental that the notorious map of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters was printed in the American press again, on which Saudi Arabia is replaced with three new states, but the most part of the Saudi territory is given to Yemen and Jordan. Apparently, Washington that is fewer and fewer dependent on the supply of oil of its Arab “friends” has made clear to them that “If you’re drowning, you’re on your own”.
Viktor Mikhin, member correspondent of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.