US-Arab alignment shows strains before Camp David summit

Displeased with Washington’s dealings with Iran, with an emerging deal over its nuclear program and with US security proposals to Gulf Arab nations, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will skip a major summit in Washington this week, as will the leaders of three other Gulf nations.
The summit— at the White House and Camp David on Wednesday and Thursday— was organized with the very purpose of assuaging Gulf concerns with shifting US policy in the Middle East toward cooperation with Iran. In meetings just last week in Riyadh and Paris, Salman and his deputies had assured US Secretary of State John Kerry of his attendance at the summit, prompting a public White House announcement to that effect over the weekend.

The White House said on Monday that Salman had confirmed his attendance before pulling out, for reasons, they said, entirely unrelated to the contents of the summit.
Salman has not left his kingdom since assuming the crown five months ago upon the death of King Abdullah. According to state-run Saudi press, Salman must remain in the country to manage a brief humanitarian ceasefire with the Houthis in Yemen; He will instead send his two heirs, interior minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and defense minister Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


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