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The Gulf Creed Versus the Obama Creed | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. President Barack Obama during the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 21, 2016, REUTERS,Faisal Al Nasser

Six initiatives were the outcome of the Riyadh United States-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit. The most prominent of initiatives was the one put out for establishing an early warning system against Iranian ballistic missiles and the training of (GCC) Special Forces. Overlooking the initiatives was enough to define as to where the landmark U.S.-GCC alliance is heading.

This summit exceeded the bar of expectations, and did not reenact the intangibility of its Camp David’s exemplar. The Obama administration has dismissed a number of its misconceptions directed against its allies, and most importantly – witnessing the last months of the Obama presidency- is that the Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia no longer perceives the U.S., a traditional, historical and strategically ally to be what it has long held it as.

There is an accounted difference between the “sole ally” and the “significant ally” approach, which is what the Riyadh summit topped the alliance’s development with. Instead of exclusively depending on the U.S., the partnership would be raised to a new level, which is a concept that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz broached at the end of the summit activities. His Highness emphasized the commitment of the GCC members towards developing the historical and strategic affairs shared with the U.S., in favor of common interests and both regional and global peace and security.

The good in the heated controversy engulfing the U.S.-Gulf affairs is that Gulf countries have taken a step away from the frame and no longer fully depend on Washington.

What is noted is that the Obama administration still has not gotten rid of the spoke in its wheel. Obama’s administration mistakenly and insistently believes that any concern or warning raised by Gulf countries against Iranian regional behavior, directly translates into a cry of help to stand up against Tehran.

However, what Gulf countries seek is that Iran is not rewarded for the terrorism which the U.S. acknowledges itself. What enrages Gulf countries is that the U.S. administration neglects that Iran directly inhibits the best interests of the U.S. and their allies found in the Middle East. We cannot anticipate a prospect on regional stability; so long the network of Iranian militias is not adequately dealt with in a counterterrorism approach.

Against all approaches taken by predecessors of the U.S. administration – which were based on strengthening their allies’ position against foes- U.S. President Obama sees that foes, namely Iran, are the owners of regional legitimate interest. Obama’s approach was clear at the signing of the nuclear deal- which was seemingly a part of rewarding a foe- and then with his administration opting out of forcing Iran to pay for their terrorist risk taking in Syria.

The decision making bodies in Washington are fully aware of the U.S.-Gulf relationships being the corner stone to regional stability; it is of the U.S. homeland security’s best interest to remain directly linked to achieving security and stability in the Middle East. All the talks on a U.S. regional withdrawal would contradict with its best interests, which crosses it out as unrealistic. It is this region’s(the Middle East) regrettable fate to the global balance for world-wide stability and security.

Should the Middle East enjoy stability, it would directly reflect onto the five continents. However, should the wave of chaos and terrorism continue annexed to the registered failure of countries, then chaos would be channeled –more precisely has already progressed – to world countries. If ISIS is the gravest threat to the U.S. in the region, then Iran would be the core threat against Washington’s interests and commitments.

It could be said that the Saudi leadership to the Gulf countries, has laid down the foundations to a new regional equation not dependent to it American ally. The equation’s rules state that partnership would highlight the alliance and not dire need.

If only Obama would explain to his Gulf allies the meaning of what he said during his infamous interview with the “Atlantic”, an American magazine, on the Gulf countries seeking free favors, when the truth suggests otherwise.

Saudi Arabia has launched and took control over many added initiatives and responsibilities over the past few years. One of which, the “Decisive Storm” which took place out of uncle Sam’s guardianship and cut the way on Iranian advance into Yemen saving its aftermath.

Peninsula Shield Force and the Islamic Military Alliance, other establishments in Bahrain and the region launched in the face of Iranian infiltration. All of which, came to take control over a fog that Washington and its Western allies were unable to. With all that being said, would Gulf countries still stand to expect free favors from Washington?!

In short, the Riyadh summit has changed the equation on the U.S.-GCC alliance, developing it to head the upcoming phase: the Gulf creed versus the Obama creed.