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article imageU.S. to forge closer military relations with Gulf Arab states

By Ken Hanly     May 15, 2015 in Politics
Washington - The U.S. has deepened its military ties with Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council promising joint cooperation against external threats.
The Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. is likely to add all GCC countries to the list of "major non-NATO allies (MNNA)" in the near future. Being on this list allows the countries to obtain advance U.S. weaponry. While Bahrain and Kuwait were already on the list, it will be a boon to the UAE and Saudi Arabia to be on the list, and will strengthen military ties with the U.S. The Saudis have sought for a U.S. official pledge of mutual defence. Israel objects strongly to such a move. However, in practice the new move will put Saudi Arabia on a par with Israel, Japan, and South Korea as far as U.S. defence of the countries are concerned according to an article here. Obama said during the recent summit that he would "consider" using military force to defend the GCC. He told reporters at the conclusion of the meetings: “I am reaffirming our ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners.” A statement after the meeting said also:"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." The leaders agreed that they would improve security cooperation with the US especially on " fast-tracking arms transfers, as well as on counter-terrorism, maritime security, cyber security, and ballistic missile defense". Obama also said that the US would work with the group to counter violent extremists who were working online.
The new relationships will include large-scale military exercises. The meeting with GCC leaders at Camp David was in part called to ease the group's fears that a nuclear deal with Iran would mean that the US was recognizing Shia Iran as a regional power against the interests of the Sunni dominated GCC. The newly crowned King Salman of Saudi Arabia did not attend the summit, a move that many interpreted as a snub. However, the Saudis have denied this and pointed out that they did send a high level delegation to the summit. The U.S. is increasing military ties with Saudi Arabia even as the Saudis and the Turks have agreed upon a pact that will see them arming radical rebel groups in Syria including the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra that the U.S. has bombed and considers a terrorist organization.
More about Gcc, Saudi US relations, US in the mideast
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