President Barack Obama and leaders from six Gulf nations gathered at Camp David Thursday in an effort to work through tensions sparked by the U.S. bid for a nuclear deal with Iran, which has put regional partners on edge.
Obama is seeking to reassure the Gulf leaders that U.S. overtures to Iran will not come at the expense of commitments to their security. He is expected to offer them more military assistance, including increased joint exercises and coordination on ballistic missile systems.
But when the meetings at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains conclude, it’s unlikely Obama will have fully assuaged the Gulf’s deep-seated fear of Iranian intentions in the region.
“My guess is that the summit is going to leave everybody feeling a little bit unsatisfied,” said Jon Alterman, the Middle East director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Just two other heads of state — the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait — joined Obama at Camp David. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain all sent lower-level but still influential representatives.