Home Contact Us  
   

Iran - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4881, 1 June 2015
 

Spotlight West Asia

US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Ranjit Gupta
Distinguished Fellow, IPCS, former Indian Ambassador to Yemen and Oman, and former Member, National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), India
 

On 17 April, the White House announced US President Barack Obama’s invite to GCC monarchs for a summit on from 13-14 May to reassure the Saudi Arabia-led GCC bloc about the nuclear framework agreement with Iran and against the backdrop of the then three-week-old war against Yemen embarked upon by Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies without consultation with the US. Reflecting the widespread sentiment amongst GCC governments, a senior Arab diplomat had said, “We don't have to ask America's permission… we won't wait for America to tell us what to do.”

GCC expectations were well summed up by the Ambassador of the UAE Youssef Al Otaiba who, on 7 May, said in Washington that, “We are looking for (some form of) security guarantee given the behavior of Iran in the region. In the past, we have survived with a gentleman’s agreement with the United States about security ... I think today we need something in writing. We need something institutionalized.”

On 7 May, US Secretary of State John Kerry met King Salman; on 8 May the US announced fixing the King’s special meeting with President Obama at the White House. On 10 May Saudi Arabia announced the cancellation of the King’s visit. With Bahrain now under complete Saudi tutelage, Bahrain’s king preferred to go to London to attend the derbies. Only the Emirs of Kuwait and Qatar went, though the latter attended the derbies in London too. The rulers of Oman and the UAE could not attend due to genuine health reasons. Two rising stars, the Crown Prince, and Deputy Crown Prince – who seems to be running the war in Yemen –  represented Saudi Arabia. All this was a strong public manifestation of the growing Saudi/UAE exasperation with US policies towards the region, particularly in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring.

What did the GCC countries actually get? Some extracts from the lengthy Joint Communiqué and a lengthier Annexe provide an answer:

“The United States is prepared to work jointly with the GCC states to deter and confront an external threat to any GCC state's territorial integrity that is inconsistent with the UN Charter…. to determine urgently what action may be appropriate, using the means at our collective disposal, including the potential use of military force, for the defense of our GCC partners”.  The US also agreed to support GCC countries “to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.” These statements, the strongest language in the Joint Communique, can hardly be construed as the US “ironclad commitment” that President Obama spoke of as a Summit outcome; particularly as another of his comments clarified that "the purpose of security cooperation is not to perpetuate any long-term confrontation with Iran or even to marginalise Iran."

The US will be particularly pleased about paragraphs: “The United States and GCC member states also affirmed their strong support for the efforts of the P5+1 to reach a deal with Iran by June 30, 2015, that would verifiably ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, noting that such a deal would represent a significant contribution to regional security…. At the same time, the United States and GCC member states reaffirmed their willingness to develop normalized relations with Iran should it cease its destabilizing activities and their belief that such relations would contribute to regional security….”. And, “With regard to Yemen, both the United States and GCC member states underscored the imperative of collective efforts to counter Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, and emphasized the need to rapidly shift from military operations to a political process…..(there is) a shared recognition that there is no military solution to the regions’ civil conflicts, and that they can only be resolved through political and peaceful means…”

However, these sentiments are likely to remain mere aspirations as Saudi Arabia resumed its intensive bombing across Yemen within minutes of the conclusion of the five-day ceasefire. If anything, the intensity of the bombing has been steadily increasing, inflicting greater casualties, causing ever increasing damage to the already weak infrastructure and displacement of increasing numbers of people, already in the thousands; all of this is going to engender long-term bitterness, even enmity towards Saudi Arabia. The Houthis remain undaunted. Saudi Arabia cannot succeed in reinstalling the Al-Hadi administration through this approach. Meanwhile, al Qaeda is gaining ground by the day.  

Frankly, the only elements of the joint communiqué that could be implemented soon are those related to the greatly expanded supply of weapons, and the installation of a GCC-wide Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. In his first term, the Obama administration agreed to sell over $64 billion in arms and defence services to the GCC countries with almost three-quarters of that going to Saudi Arabia. New offers worth nearly $15 billion were made to Riyadh in 2014 and 2015. Now, even more weapons will be made available. The US military-industrial complex is celebrating.

Thus, the summit ended with the US coming out a winner, Iran not losing anything and little for the GCC countries beyond lots more weapons. Saudi Arabia’s new assertiveness will increase in the short term as paranoia and pique continue to override rationality; President Obama will persist with his top foreign policy priority, a deal with Iran; the increasing misery of the peoples of the region will continue unabated; and prospects for meaningful political processes to end conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen in the foreseeable future remain bleak.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Ranjit Gupta,
"King Salman: The Boldest Ever Saudi Monarch?," 5 May 2015
Ranjit Gupta,
"Saudi Arabia and Evolving Regional Strategic Dynamics," 2 March 2015
Ranjit Gupta,
"IPCS Forecast: West Asia in 2015," 5 January 2015

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India-West Asia: With Relations Boosted, Consolidation Must Follow

India-UAE: An Emerging Special Relationship

West Asia Six Years After the ‘Arab Spring’: Prognosis for 2017

Trump and West Asia: Reading the Tea Leaves

Battle for Mosul: Prospects for the Immediate Future

The Battle for Aleppo and the Imminent Regional Shifts

Will the US-Russia Deal on Syria Hold?

Russia: The New and Unexpected Power Broker in West Asia

Countering IS: Should India be More Assertively Involved in West Asia?

Iran, India and Chabahar: Recalling the Broader Context

West Asia, US, and Obama’s Statesman-like Legacy

Modi in Saudi Arabia: Consolidating Ties in West Asia

Current Syrian Peace Processes Sterile: A New Approach Needed

Forecast 2016: West Asia

Turkey's Ambitions and the War in Syria

Potential Implications of Russia’s Military Involvement in Syria

Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*

A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?

King Salman: The Boldest Ever Saudi Monarch?

Yemen: Why the Current Strife will Continue

Saudi Arabia and Evolving Regional Strategic Dynamics

New Leadership Lineup in Saudi Arabia: Reading the Tea Leaves

IPCS Forecast: West Asia in 2015

Rise of the Islamic State: Implications for the Arab World

Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.