Barack Obama’s recent visit to Riyadh, where he met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders, may be his last as president of the United States. The US-GCC summit held during Obama’s visit to the kingdom represents the second chapter of the Camp David meeting when Obama hosted Gulf leaders about a year ago prior to signing an agreement with Iran.
The situation of Gulf and Saudi Arabia’s relations with Washington regarding all matters linked to Iran, particularly to Syria, Iraq and Yemen, hasn’t improved much. The developments in these three countries have increased tension in the region in an unprecedented manner.
Between the Camp David meeting and the Riyadh summit the White House concluded its pledge of signing the nuclear agreement with Iran but failed to balance this step based on the Gulf point of view. At the same time, Iran and its allies continued their efforts to control the region, particularly the three troubled countries, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and threatened the security and stability of Gulf countries.
The situation in the region hasn’t given the Gulf countries a chance to cooperate with Washington in its project of openness to Iran as the nuclear agreement has allowed the Revolutionary Guards Corps to fight beyond its borders and engage in wars we haven’t witnessed before.
What was expected following the Camp David meeting last year was for the US to balance lifting of the sanctions on Iran with a strict policy that confronts the latter’s attempts to expand and threaten its neighbors. This balance, however, has not been achieved. Sanctions on Iran were lifted and its frozen assets released. Tehran was thus able to seal deals with other countries and was also made part of the negotiations involving crises in the region.
Against chaos, not against reconciliation
Washington cannot be open to Iran while, at the same time, allow it to threaten the region’s security and interestsAbdulrahman al-Rashed