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The Camp David Summit: Major or modest moves in U.S.-Gulf ties?

The Gulf states have received a broad array of new U.S. commitments to reinvest in bilateral and multilateral security cooperation

Published: Updated:

In the run up to Thursday's summit at Camp David, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had #Syria policy.” Elaborating further on the summit’s Syria language, he added that “this reads like a [Mideast] Quartet statement to me. Where are the specifics on Syria? [Chemical weapons], Safe Zones?”

Perhaps the most significant new language on Syria actually came from the Gulf states. Another innovative announcement on regional affairs in the annex was a call for the states to “press all parties” in Libya to “urgently establish a national unity government before Ramadan.”

The Gulf states have received a broad array of new U.S. commitments to reinvest in bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, but most of those commitments were relatively shallow. As the Saudi and Bahraini kings’ absences foreshadowed - and Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies explicitly predicted - this summit probably left “everybody feeling a little bit unsatisfied.”

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Patrick Megahan is a research associate for military affairs at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where David Andrew Weinberg is a senior fellow.